Faith-Based or Fear-Based?
A useful tool for purposeful living is identifying the emotional motivation for your decisions.
It helps to ask: “Is this decision fear-based or faith-based?”
Many of our decisions can be rooted in fear on some level. We can fear not having enough income, or we can fear losing approval from others. We can fear the anger of someone, or we can fear the unknown. We can fear change, and we can fear letting go.
It is generally easier to identify fear-based thinking relative to larger decisions. As we reach a momentous crossroads, we evaluate what hinders us; at such a point we often discover elements of fear. With smaller decisions, however, we often do not reflect long enough upon the decision to recognize the fear. Smaller decisions accumulate over time. Continually making decisions from fear rather than from faith diminishes not only one’s testimony but also one’s quality of life.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
If perfect love casts out fear, it follows that we have not fully accepted God’s love when we do fear. When we fear other people or situations, when we fear scarcity or disapproval, when we fear the unknown – when we fear in any situation – we are not acting out of love. We cannot openly receive God’s love in a state of fear, and thereby we cannot overflow with love. Without fully embracing God’s love, we are sensitive and vulnerable to everything around us: people, events and situations. Fear clenches and closes the heart…preventing it from giving and receiving love.
Fully accepting God’s love awakens our trust in Him and in His Promises. Our hearts open to embrace His love. Our open hearts then freely love Him and others in return. It is then, with this widely open heart, that our decisions become firmly based on faith. We seek only God’s approval, and we need not know the outcome of obeying Him. We trust Him that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
God is love (1 John 4:8); when we align our will with His, our actions and decisions flow freely from a state of love. When our fear is only of God, we discover freedom and truth. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” (Psalm 111:10)
Today, as you continue upon your purposeful pathway, notice the decisions you make – both big and small. Is there a hint of improperly-placed fear? Do you fear anyone or anything besides God? Perhaps today you can share your faith more freely? Or perhaps you can learn to say “no” to commitments when your time would be better spent in other activities? Perhaps you can move more boldly in a direction to which you sense God is calling?
In all that you do, today and every day, embrace God’s love with an open heart. Release your fears to Him and walk faithfully with Him…
© COPYRIGHT 2011 Caroline Gavin