If not checked, fear can incapacitate us.
Many fears accompany growing up. Like all children, I wanted to be accepted. I feared that only a few would like me— that I wouldn't be popular. I lived out the reality of this fear, partially because I let it incapacitate me. I wasn't overly fond of my looks. Skinny. Freckled face. Shy. Glasses. These things gave me a complex, and I chose to give into my fear instead of facing it.
Many children who might not normally be popular can be popular simply by letting an outgoing and kind personality compensate for what they lack in other areas. I was kind, but I wasn't outgoing. I settled to live with my fear of not being accepted.
The reactions I feared from others while growing up I don't have to fear from God. Others did reject me; perhaps because I didn't give them a chance. I wasn't always chosen for sports' teams due to my build. But I complicated the situation by not trying.
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"Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome" (Ephesians 3:12 NLT).
I could interact with God the same way I once did with others. After all, he has traits that frighten me. He's all powerful and could snuff out my life in a second. He has the power to cast me into an eternal hell. Not a pleasant picture. If I let these fears incapacitate me, I'll avoid him. That too has unpleasant consequences.
Christ has removed our need to fear or be afraid of God. We fear or respect him, but we don't fear he'll reject or punish us indiscriminately. Christ has made it possible for us to come fearlessly into God's presence. He welcomes us. Often and regularly. He loves us unconditionally and wants to guide us into abundant living. By accepting his offer of forgiveness through Christ, we remove any reason to fear God. Nothing can separate us from his love.
Are you living fearlessly in a relationship with God?
Martin Wiles is Managing Editor of Christian devotions and a proof-editor for Courier Publishing. His work is featured at www.lovelinesfromgod.com.