God indeed tells us, “Do not fear. Do not be afraid.”
It certainly seems as if God’s reassurance is frequently misused. Having no fear is not in lieu of pride or haughtiness or lack of wisdom. Claiming not to have fear does not necessarily reflect a healthy faith. In my experience, most people with mature, authentic faith will admit to struggling with fear at times—not a crippling fear but definitely concern and hesitation. It is as if we claim we never worry and are never anxious about anything, even though I don’t know any of us who can honestly claim that. We simply reframe it. We rationalize what fear or worry, anxiety and faith are. And in that process, we misconstrue the truth of faith. We project our idea of fear and faith onto others, and too often, if it’s different than ours, we exalt ours and degrade others.
We need to be better. Our relationship with God and how he is represented to others is way too important to sacrifice or taint.
As we admit we are not always patient, kind, gentle, and loving, as that admission places us with humble posture, we grow. We offer our shortcomings and trust God to grow us in his wisdom and timing. When we respond to others in haughty faith, we boast of strengths that have little to do with God. In the very claim that our faith is beyond fear, worry, anxiety, and so on, we separate ourselves from God.
Let’s quit claiming long enough to sit in God’s presence and let him challenge our next steps and next words. Let’s trust him to refine us into a healthy, authentic faith.