What does the Bible say about faith vs. fear?Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." It is the belief that, although we cannot tangibly see God, we know that He is present and working in our lives. Unbelief can cause fear to take hold of our lives and emotions, and fear cannot exist in the same space as faith. Faith can deliver us from fear and worry because faith is the opposite of unbelief. Faith does not come from us, but is a gift (Ephesians 2:8–9), and is a fruit (or characteristic) manifested in our lives through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).
The more we learn about God, the more our eyes are opened to how He is working in our lives and strengthening our faith. Our faith continues to grow as we grow in our understanding of God and as we study His character. Faith, as a Christian, means assurance that God loves us and deeply cares about our thoughts and needs.
God desires for our faith to grow, and we are instructed through the Scriptures on how to develop a faith that conquers fears. Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Studying the Word of God is paramount in building strong faith. To know Him and rely on His direction in our lives, we must seek to understand Scripture.
Time with God in prayer and quiet worship also builds a relationship with God and opens our hearts to Him. David, a Psalmist to whom we can all relate, experienced fear and wrote to God in response, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you" (Psalm 56:3). The Psalms are a great instruction to those who wish to learn how to cast out their fear with faith. Psalm 119 has excellent examples of how David communicated with God and valued His Word: "With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!" (v. 10); "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (v. 11); "I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways" (v. 15); "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (v. 105). Today, we can also meditate on these words to build our faith.
Without trials, faith does not mature or strengthen. God understands our weaknesses and fears, but He also commands us to use trials as opportunities to grow our faith. In Scripture, we see many examples of people who experience adversity and lean on God. Each one of us will experience fearful situations that God is able to walk through with us (John 16:33; Romans 8:31–39). We can learn to allow God's Word to saturate our thoughts and use trials as stepping-stones to build greater faith that God is good and will take care of us.
As children of God, we are capable of taking hold of the promises that God describes in the Scriptures. There are verses for every kind of fear! When we face anxiety about the future: God will "instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you" (Psalm 32:8). When we face financial trouble: "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). When we experience physical ailments or hardships: "… suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:3–5).
Fear is our human reaction to the trials that we will face in this life, but God promises us that we can experience peace in every situation. His peace "surpasses all understanding" and "will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
How does the Bible address fear?
Does the Bible say anything about anxiety?
What should I do to increase my faith?
Why should I trust in God and how can I learn to trust in Him?
How can I come to really know God?