Starve Your Fear, Feed Your Faith

“God has not given us a spirit of fear; but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:7

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus continues to make headlines with new cases reported every day. Our hearts go out to those who are infected by the virus and to their families. 

During difficult and uncertain days such as these, many of us turn to God and to His Word for comfort, direction and peace. Many of us are fearful as to what will happen next. Will they and their loved ones be affected? 

Fear is a reality of life. It’s true for believers and non-believers. Fear keeps us from living our normal lives. It cripples us and prevents us from doing what God wants us to do. 

We know we should not feed our fear or dwell on it, because if we do, it controls us. We should know this: fear takes control of us, only if we allow it! Here is a story that supports that.

An American Indian once shared: “It seems that I have two dogs fighting in my heart: one is a very good dog, a beautiful dog and is always watching out for my best interests. The other is a very bad dog, which is always trying to destroy the things that I want to build up. These dogs give me a lot of trouble because they are always quarreling and fighting each other.” One of his friends looked up and asked, “Which one wins?” The American Indian said, “Whichever one I give in to.”

The more we entertain fear, the more it controls and cripples us. Remember: fear takes control of us, only if we allow it

In the book of second Timothy, the apostle Paul says to young Timothy, his protege, “God has not given us a spirit of fear; but a spirit of power, and of love, and of self-discipline.” Paul is saying to Timothy, “Do not be afraid of what anyone can do to you.” Therefore, based on this verse, God gives us three things:

God gives us power. What we need to do is rid ourselves of a spirit of fear by focusing on the power of God, who gives us power and helps us face our fear.

Photo: Katherine Hanlon/Unsplash

King David in Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” 

When we are going “through the valley of the shadow of death,” we may lose our focus on God, and our circumstances may overwhelm us. Right now, all we can see is the effects of the Coronavirus: fear, isolation and pain.

But David did not lose sight of God. He trusted God to be with him. He said, “Yes, Lord, I know that You are with me.” David, rather than feeding his fear, he fed his faith in God! 

If we are feeling that we are in “the valley of the shadow of death,” we need to get off to a quiet place and learn to feed our faith in God, who is still in-charge and in control. We need to believe that there is power in God’s ever-present presence! 

God gives us love. The Bible says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18). We need to learn to turn ourselves and our loved ones to the love of God and trust that He is with us, and He is enough. 

God does not leave us or forsake us. He promises to be with us at all times! He is a good God. All we need to do is trust in His unchanging love for us and His ever-present presence.  

God gives us self-discipline. Self-discipline is the ability to discipline ourselves from within. It’s like a muscle. The less we train it, the weaker we become. The more we train it, the stronger we become. Faith in God and His presence help us overcome fear. 

Jesus often asked His disciples, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). In the height of the storm in the Sea of Galilee, the disciples were overcome with fear. They cried out, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). 

In fact, Jesus seemed surprised that the disciples were filled with fear! First, He calmed the storm and then asked the disciples, “Where is your faith? Why were you so afraid?” By saying that, Jesus was saying to His disciples, “You do not have to be afraid. You just need to stop feeding your fear and start feeding your faith in God for He is enough!”

Here is a story, by an unknown author, entitled “Can sleep when the wind blows.” 

Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. 

“Are you a good farmhand?” the farmer asked him.

“Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. 

The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.

Then, one night a loud wind and storm rushed from offshore. 

Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarter. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!”

The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No, sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with covers. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, the doors were barred and the shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away.

The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant. So, he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

The moral of the story is this: When we are prepared spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically in advance, we have nothing to fear. When we have done our part, well in advance, we have nothing to fear! We just need to feed our faith in God!

Can we sleep when the wind blows through our life? I wish we would.

The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm. We, as believers, need to secure our needs, well in advance, by starving our fear and feeding our faith in God.

Avedis Boynerian
Reverend Dr. Avedis Boynerian has been the Senior Minister of the Armenian Memorial (Congregational) Church since October 2003. He had previously served as the Minister to the Armenian Evangelical Martyrs’ Church of Aleppo, Syria. He graduated from the Andover Newton Theological School in 2011 with a Doctor of Ministry.
Avedis Boynerian

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7 Comments

  1. At times like these, spiritual nourishment is as essential as our physical one. I commend The Armenian Weekly for dedicating a section for these purposes. After all the practical advice given by health experts (which are important by all means) it does help to feed the spiritual side of our being. I will look forward to the next publication on your pages.

  2. Thank you, Badveli, for reminding us that, during times of insecurity when we feel that all the forces of evil are howling at us through the murderous storm, we can reach out for the protection of a shield which the Holy Bible calls FAITH, the privilege to pour out into God’s hands the threats and the challenges bent on overwhelming us.
    Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian

  3. This was so wonderful and uplifting . Just what I needed right now. I will try to heed the message. Thank you!

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