We battle it, talk about it, sing about it, and we vow to never give in to it….when it comes to the big decisions of life. But it’s those small little everyday decisions where fear seems to trip us up. Those small daily choices is where fear often masquerades as wisdom in our society. Which is why it’s vital we start identifying fear in our life.
This masquerade has been a struggle since the beginning of time.
Eve fell for the trick. Abraham did too. As did Moses, Saul, David, Rahab, Mary, Martha, Paul, and the list could go on and on.
But let’s just start with Eve. Why did she take the apple? To her it just seemed wise to eat something that would make her an even better person…or was it fear that maybe she wasn’t yet enough? That God didn’t actually create her perfectly.
Or take Abraham lying to the king about his wife being his sister. Telling a little white lie appears wise if it protects his own life as well as his wife’s and gets them into the land the Lord was leading them to. Or is it fear that maybe God isn’t enough? Maybe his protection can’t reach around your circumstances, and it really is every man for himself?
Or Saul trying to kill David. With David dead, his kingdom would be secure and his kiddos would have a future inheritance which appears to be pretty wise. Or was it fear that maybe God couldn’t be trusted? Maybe God wasn’t actually in control of all things?
Fear says protect yourself. Wisdom says God will protect you.
Fear says a little white lie never hurt anyone. Wisdom says the truth spoken in love is the way we “grow up into him who is the head, into Christ.”
Fear says protect your kids, protect your health, protect your wealth. Wisdom says “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Knowing when you’re listening to wisdom and when you’re giving into fear takes work. But identifying fear can be done.
3 steps to help you identify the difference between fear and wisdom
1. List out characteristics of God.
Use verses in scripture as evidence that those characteristics are in fact characteristics of God. If this is difficult for you, google “characteristics of God” and see what you find!
Once you have a pretty exhaustive list, take some time to think through current decisions you are making about family, job, health, activities, and life. In any of those decisions are you attempting to stop God from fulfilling his role in your life? For example, are you helicopter parenting and stopping God from demonstrating his protective nature. Or are you hoarding your finances and stopping God from demonstrating his generosity towards you as well as his provision for all your needs?
If you are stepping in and not relying on God to do what He’s said He will, your fear is probably masquerading as wisdom.
After you’ve identified characteristics of God that are difficult for you to believe, confess that to God, and ask Him to help you in your unbelief. (Mark 9:23-24) This confession might be a one time thing or a daily thing or even a minute by minute thing. The point is to keep confessing until you actually quit trusting in yourself over God.
3. Spend time daily in prayer and God’s Word
Make this a priority. If you currently depend more on your intellect and gut instinct then sitting down and presenting your requests and listening to God, you are probably tricking yourself about how wise you are.
Psalm 51:6 and Proverbs 2:6 both remind us it is the Lord who gives us wisdom. This is a gift. It’s not something we automatically have simply because we are educated humans. You may be capable of making choices that appear good based on society around you; however, if you wonder if your choices are based out of godly wisdom or fear, you need to make sure you are spending time with the One who gives out wisdom generously to all who ask. (James 1:5) For help with making this time in a word a priority, check out this post.
Identifying fear-based decisions and then releasing them to God will push you to deepen your dependence, love, and knowledge of God. Don’t let another day go by without asking God to show you where your fear is masquerading as wisdom in your life.