Have you ever heard the saying, ”fear is the opposite of faith?” It’s not exactly true. Why is this?
Faith is a choice and a gift from God; it isn’t something you necessarily feel. On the other hand, fear is a feeling we do not choose. Fear can lead to a fear-inspired action of course, but you can also be feeling fear and still act out of faith in spite of that feeling.
Imagine a bear is coming toward you during a hike. Would you likely experience fear? Of course you would! However, does that feeling of fear mean you don’t have faith? Not necessarily!
At that moment, fear is a natural response to danger. Fear can lead to a reaction of a fight/flight/freeze response to a real or perceived threat. And that fear is actually beneficial because it typically leads you to get to safety, while yes, also trusting God to help and get us through it safely.
Faith on the other hand must be coupled with wisdom. If you’re facing a bear, running up to it and screaming “Get away in Jesus’ name!” is probably not the best choice. Sure, God is God so He could lead you to do that, but most likely He would lead you to wisely escape from the danger you’re in.
Fear in Daily Life
What about every day experiences of fear and anxiety?
These emotions often occur in circumstances where we are not in danger like if a bear came near us. When we feel fear in daily life, we often allow that emotion to lead our reaction to it. This often leads to a sinful action such as worry or neglecting to do something out of fear. We must note however: that feeling of fear isn’t the actual sin; the sin is the reaction we had to that feeling.
Because of this tendency to sin when experiencing fear or anxiety, we must instead seek to respond with a faith-filled action that says we trust God despite our feelings. We can meditate on who God is and His faithfulness and ability rather than meditate on the what-ifs of worry.
Fear is not the opposite of faith. They cannot be opposites because fear is a feeling and faith is a choice and gift from God. Feeling fear does not necessarily mean you have no faith. By remembering fear is something we feel, we can choose a right response when we experience it.
Want more encouragement concerning fear and anxiety? Read Encouragement for the Anxious: Your Emotions Are NOT Sin