Fear Steps Or Faith Steps
‘…and oh, my goodness, it feels like I’m in December already!’ This was me proudly letting my friend know on the phone that I had 2024 in the bag. Yep, only three weeks into January and all my ideas, every goal, and each one of my faith steps were already meticulously scheduled and planned so I could relax. ‘I’m leaning into the whole give us this day our daily bread this year,’ I reassured myself. As far as I was concerned, my faith steps were totally in line with Carrie Underwood’s, ‘Jesus Take The Wheel’ song. And yet somehow, my faith steps had left me in the driver’s seat, gripping the wheel for dear life, with Jesus in the back seat hanging on for the ride. Faith steps? Ha! Who was I kidding? Jesus and I both knew that it was fear steps, not faith steps that were guiding this worried soul’s path.
After that phone call, I wondered why I’d reverted to choosing fear steps instead of the faith steps I’d proudly spoken of with my friend. Too many disappointments and anxious thoughts of whether something will or will not happen were possibly all in the mix.
Can you relate?
See, the trouble comes when we can’t even feel the next step let alone see the next step, so our bold faith steps suddenly become fearful steps because we try to arrange, control, and plot each move forward just in case God’s integrity in who He says He is and what He does don’t quite match.
I know I get it, we’ve been so let down, however, it’s our words and actions that betray us, not God’s. We’re the ones saying we’re going to take some bold faith steps this year, and then we’re specifically and strategically planning fear steps. Don’t get me wrong, planning things is good but the bible reminds us in Proverbs 16:9 that ‘A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], but the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.’ (AMP)
We plan, and yet the Lord directs our steps. That’s good, right? However, I like the establish part more. Other words for establish are settled, fixed, rooted, secure, set, and stable. Each one of our faith steps is directed by God as each step we take is set on the firm foundation of God’s authority. This is the stability and bedrock that keeps our faith steps durable and solid. Fear steps will always cause us to lose our footing because they are built on shaky ground, as the enemy’s setup is props that support our angst and suspicions so we take each panicky, controlled fear step into our future.
Hmm, settled, fixed, rooted, secure, set, and stable, sounds like a lot less work than trying to control each step, right? Besides, manipulating each move is not faith steps, it’s fear steps, and we will never trust God enough if we keep trying to manage the future. As Katy McCown says, “I can’t change the future, but the fear of the future can change me” and we can head down the shaky path of losing sight of the here and now.
Fear steps look so far ahead into the future that we miss all the moments God wants to show us. It’s saying I can’t trust you God with Your direction in the here and now. See, this is what give us this day our daily bread in the Lord’s prayer is about. It’s a reference to the Israelites receiving manna while they walked in the desert toward the Promised Land in Exodus 16:4. ‘Look! I will cause bread to rain down from heaven for you, and the people will go out and gather a helping of it each day. I will test them to see if they are willing to live by My instructions.’ The Israelites could only take enough manna for the day because God needed to teach them how to rely on Him for their daily needs.
They were so used to fear steps because that was all they’d ever known. Slavery under the rule of an Egyptian Pharaoh was their life. For them to live in the freedom they were made for needed some training on how to take faith steps, and the daily bread of manna from God was a test to see if they could trust Him for their daily provision. And it’s the same with us, fear steps mean we’re not living in the freedom Jesus died for, so we revert to an Egyptian mindset of slavery, oppression, and fear that the enemy keeps us under. Fear steps get us to ask ourselves, ‘If God is leading me one each faith step I take, will He provide for me?’
The answer, my friend, is yes! Because God never leads us somewhere in our faith steps without providing what we need. He is the same God who looked after His people in the book of Exodus and He is the same God who will look after our needs too.
So, let’s make a new year’s resolution to walk this year in faith steps instead of fear steps because God is the Giver and Provider of our daily bread, and that’s enough of God’s light to take the next faith step. Right!
The key to trusting God is in the waiting. It’s the gap between each faith step. So where have you found you’ve taken some controlled, managed fear steps by taking the wheel and leaving Jesus hanging on for the ride?