Everybody has something that scares them. What scares you?

I know someone who went to see the movie JAWS when it came out in 1975. It was a hit movie, and lots of folks were going to see it. As a result, the only open seats in the theatre were in the center of the front row. They’ve been afraid of sharks ever since. I’m not talking about some off-in-the-distance discomfort. I’m speaking about a never-go-in-the-ocean-above-your-ankles sort of fear. Of course living in the shark attack capital of the world doesn’t help.

Did you know that about five percent of the people in the world are afraid of being poisoned? Above the age of fifty, many people express a fear of getting old. COVID did nothing to help folks with germophobia, a fear of bacteria and other microorganisms. Some of these folks are SO germophobic they wash their hands dozens of times a day, clean their homes repeatedly throughout the day and some can’t even touch everyday objects for fear of catching some dangerous virus. Some of the most common fears people battle are a fear of heights, spiders, snakes, rats, cockroaches, and airplanes. Some men fear being a coward, which I guess is actually a fear of fear, right?

I’ve failed at some pretty big things in my life. But my greatest fear is not that I might fail, but rather that I may succeed at something that doesn’t truly matter.

Today’s verse makes a point and then asks a question:

God says we should trust in Him with all our heart, and not lean on our own understanding. He promises that if we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our paths and straighten them out.

Trusting God is sometimes a difficult thing to do, because His ways don’t always seem to make sense. That’s probably why He tells us we shouldn’t lean on our own understanding. He wants to develop our faith.

Some people say that faith gets stronger as you use it. That’s partially true. I believe the key to building greater faith is to use it in situations that become more and more difficult. Swimming forward; not treading water. Exercise is a good illustration here. Strength is built by lifting more or doing more; by pushing yourself to the next level. As we work to strengthen our faith, St. Francis suggested that we start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Or, more to the point, God is doing the impossible through you.

That’s where trust in God comes in. Our ability to place our faith in Him is based upon our relationship. Those who truly know Him put their trust in Him. We’re talking about “knowing”; not “knowing about”; there’s a big difference. When you KNOW God, you know He has never forsaken those who seek Him. And that enables and engenders trust, because you know that He is trustworthy — worthy of the trust we put in Him.

Trust enables faith. Faith enables action.

The faith that matters is not the faith we profess but the faith we practice. It’s one thing to say you have faith in the safety of air travel. It’s another thing entirely to board a plane and fly. Belief and behavior must be inextricably joined if our faith is to live. That’s because the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love. Our faith can only be truly expressed in our actions.

Making the deliberate choice to act on your faith pleases God. In fact, without faith it is impossible to please Him. Choosing to live our faith is the best way to draw near to God. It demonstrates that we truly believe not only that He exists, but also that He rewards those who seek Him.


Sometimes my faith will bring me into some pretty scary situations. When I’m afraid in the places God calls me, I make a deliberate choice to put my trust in Him. I pray the psalm that says, “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can people do to me?”

Prayers like that allow me to press on and take hold of that for which Christ has taken hold of me.

WHY would I be afraid?? The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him. He sees my faith, and acts. I am helped; my heart leaps for joy, and I give thanks to Him with shouts of praise and songs of worship.

The bible tells us that we get access by FAITH into grace. Faith is the pipeline of GRACE. Everything I need to live an extraordinary life empowered by faith is contained in the grace of God.

Trusting God and living by faith allow us to rule in life; not be ruled BY life.

So let me encourage you to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He’ll make your path straight.

And He’ll lead you to the places where your successes will impact His Kingdom. That’s REAL success, a success that matters.


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