5 Red Flags to Distinguish Walking by Faith vs. Fear

walking by faith or fear

Let’s Talk About Faith

If asked, “Do you have faith?”, most of us would immediately respond “Yes!”

But, how can we be so sure, so optimistic? Faith is much different than optimism. Optimism is having a positive outlook and perspective, but faith is the substance of things we hope for when there’s nothing positive in sight (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is a verb – optimism is a noun. A person can be optimistic all day long and not walk by faith.

The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), so it’s important that we evaluate our hearts to be sure we are operating in faith.

More Faith, Less Fear

It’s a shame that most Christians only exercise faith in a crisis. God is a deliverer and a healer, but He also wants to bring you into promise.

The opposite of faith is fear. Fear cripples us in the body of Christ and it hinders our progress. If we’re not careful, we can be deceived and mix these concepts up. There are a few red flags that will alert you to a fear factor at work in you. My hope is that you overcome them quickly and move on to what the Lord has for you. Let’s take a look:

1. Faith is action-oriented.

When you have faith in God, you walk in full expectation – so, prepare!

When I came across the listing for my current job, it was right on time. It pays well, it was in an area where I desired to work, and I was qualified. I had faith in God and believed that He would give me this position, but my faith wasn’t enough – I had to put in work.

After I applied for the job, I called them once a week to check the status of my application. One day, I even got dressed up and went down to the HR and Recruitment department to speak with someone. I also began to make arrangements for childcare so that my daughter would be set when my hours changed. I prayed earnestly and I got the job! Faith without works is dead (James 2:14).

2. Faith is specific.

Fear will have you justifying all kinds of mishaps with clichés like “everything happens for a reason”. Faith is when you know that you know and you move accordingly.

One sure way to tell if you’re walking in fear is when you are leery about being too specific in your petitions to God. Building your personal relationship with God is key because He will confirm His word to you and give you discernment. Our faith empowers us to go boldly before the throne of grace to find help in our times of need (Hebrews 4:6).

3. Faith has tunnel vision; fear is easily distracted.

When you’re walking by faith, all hell can break loose around you, and you will not be moved! It is possible to overlook your current circumstances and still believe.

Fear will have you thinking, “Well, since this happened – maybe I heard wrong.” NO! Please understand that the devil does not care that you received a Word from God. He will fight tooth and nail to see that it never manifests. Faith focuses on what God said, making everything else irrelevant.

4. Faith has patience; fear is anxious.

Faith is patient because it trusts and believes God. Fear is anxious because it doubts God.

There are times when you can truly believe that your fear is justified. Maybe you or a loved one is sick, or perhaps you need your rent money by tomorrow and your next paycheck is a week away. It could be something big to you, but NOTHING is impossible to those who believe (Mark 9:23). Worry and stress is a sign that you’re walking by fear.

5. Faith is not foolish; fear loves folly.

Please don’t spend your money frivolously, then try to fast and pray for God to provide. That’s not how this works. Exercise your common sense and good judgment because God gave us all the ability to reason. God is not our personal genie in a bottle. Be a good steward over what He has given you (time, gifts, resources) so that He can trust you with more.

So, What’s the play call?

Be intentional about growing your faith! The Bible says we go from faith to faith, glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Jesus said that we can ask anything in His name and it will be given to us (John 14:13), so let’s ask Him to increase our faith so that we will be pleasing in His sight.

Put God to the test! Ask God to show you an area in your life where your faith is weak. What do you need that you can’t do for yourself? For example, I applied for my job, but I couldn’t hire myself.

Wait on the Lord. Be patient, Team. Anxiety is fear in disguise. When we wait on God, not wavering, but with joy and peace, we show ourselves faithful.

If you ever feel like things aren’t happening when they should, remember that God’s timing is perfect. Don’t let doubt threaten your faith and cloud your focus.

Remember that fear is usually the fruit – not the root. Through prayer and fasting, get to the bottom of what is causing you fear or anxiety. Break its bondage off your life!

Be blessed.

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