Life is basically just one long series of decisions. For those who are followers of Christ we long deeply for those decisions to be ones that glorify our creator and Savior. Some decisions are clearly right and wrong, and we navigate those with general ease. Or at the very least know how we should navigate them. The tension comes when we encounter decisions where God’s word doesn’t give direct instruction and where we may not be feeling a specific lead from the Holy Spirit.
I want to offer a simple, effective framework for navigating that kind of decision in your life. First the basis for this framework, then the framework itself.
Fear or Faith
In the 14th chapter of his epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul makes a massive statement; “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (14:23b) If this statement is to be taken at face value – which I believe it is, judging by the scripture-wide emphasis on faith as the thing which pleases God most – then that means that every act we do that isn’t prompted by faith is, in some way, a sin.
The opposite of faith is fear. Fear is self-focused, faith is God-focused. Fear is about security and control, faith is about trust and obedience. Fear is timid, faith is bold. Faith takes God at His word, fear looks at the circumstances and gathers doubt.
I want you to choose to live in faith rather than fear. When you come to a difficult decision and are unsure what to do, ask yourself this question: “Which of these options is choosing faith?” Choose that one, no matter what. We don’t want to be people who take the path of least resistance. We want to be the people who walk the path that carries us increasingly closer to Christ.
Live in Faith
The funny thing is, the same outward action that comes from faith in one person could be coming from fear in another. To help better grasp how this works out, let’s look at a couple examples and contrast how choosing in faith vs. choosing in fear plays out.
- It’s Friday. A few co-workers are going to the bar after work and they invite you along. You choose to go.
- Faith: You chose to go despite the fact that you don’t feel comfortable in bars because you believe that God wants you to love and minister to your coworkers, and you want to get to know them better.
- Fear: You chose to go because you didn’t want to be seen as an outsider or a goodie two-shoes.
- You’re frustrated with your significant other because of something they keep doing even though you’ve mentioned that it bothers you several times already. You decide to keep quiet about it.
- Faith: You chose to be quiet and trust that they care for you and probably aren’t doing it intentionally, so you’ll trust the Spirit to remind them this time.
- Fear: You chose to be quiet because you didn’t want to start an argument or appear to be nagging or have them be frustrated with you.
- A person who drains you called this morning and left a message, asking you to call them back. You put it off for a few hours, then call them back.
- Faith: You chose to call them back because you trust that God will give you the emotional energy to deal with whatever the situation is.
- Fear: You called them back because you were worried about what they’d think of you if you didn’t, and because you’d feel like you weren’t being Christian enough.
There are a thousand more examples that could be laid out before us. But you don’t need them, because you have the Holy Spirit in you. When you ask which option in the decision you’re making is choosing faith, he’ll let you know. Step into it. We make decision after decision every day, and each one is an opportunity to step further into faith in God or backwards into fear. Let’s make faith our daily choice, no matter what the cost. It will be well worth it in the end.