"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." -Matthew 10:28
One of my many resolutions this year is to read through the Bible, so I decided to start in Matthew. In the book of Matthew, I've noticed, there's a lot about faith. Whenever you look up pictures about faith, you usually get pictures of the cross, someone jumping, or of a silhouette of someone praying in a field with the sunset in the background (I don't know why prayer is always depicted that way, but it is and I don't know of anyone who only prays in fields at nightfall, but I suppose if you really want to, go for it). But faith isn't just in the death of Jesus, and faith isn't blindly jumping, and it's not just prayer. Faith is the absence of fear, and fear is the absence of faith.
I'd like to first of all discuss "blind" faith. Yes, in 2 Corinthians 5:7 we see that we walk by faith and not by sight, but that doesn't mean that our faith is blind. If our faith was blind, then that would mean we have no evidence of what we believe in. However, we do have evidence in what we believe in, and that evidence is how perfect the Bible is, the prophecies coming true after years and years and years and years and years and years of being prophesied. We have proof in all the stars we see outside, we have proof in science, in nature, and in everything. No, we don't need evidence, and we don't need miracles to believe because even those who had seen Jesus Himself perform miracles lacked faith as we can we in Matthew 14:31, Matthew 17:19-20, and several other places throughout the Bible. However, faith is not a leap into the darkness, because we have the Bible which is a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105).
Fear is the absence of faith. When Jesus was walking on water in Matthew 14, and Peter went and walked with him, he was fine. Peter was fine until the storm got rough, and he stopped believing in Jesus, and started believing in the storm. We, as Christians, cannot stop looking at Jesus when the storm comes, or we will fall. Think about it this way: say you're on an epic adventure, running away from pirates attempting to kill you (they think you stole their treasure but really they stole it from you. It's quite complicated, actually), when all of a sudden you realize you're at the edge of a cliff. You look around for a way to escape, breathing heavily from exhaustion. As you begin losing hope of surviving, you look over and see a shaky little rope bridge leading over to the next mountain. As you run to the bridge and test to see if it can hold your weight, you notice that there's ropes on either side of it, and you realize why as the bridge is too rickety to hold you (as its base is rope) and the only way you can successfully cross is to grab the rope right next to you. Are you going to grab that rope? Of course you are! Why wouldn't you? You're about to be killed by pirates! This is how things are with Jesus. If we look to only ourselves as a way to get relief from our troubles, we will fall. We need to have faith that even though things may not end here on earth, they will once we reach heaven, and as long as we hold onto that rope, even if the enemy catches up to us before we reach the end, we won't fall off the bridge.
How does your faith look? Do you fully believe that if you walk the straight and narrow you'll receive a place in heaven? Or do you fear what will happen to you every day? Today I would like to ask you what you base your life off of: faith, or fear? You can't have both.