Day 3 – What Are You Afraid Of?

Day 3

Read

Matthew 28:5

Reflect

It’s kind of weird. Whenever an angel appears to a person in the Bible, the first words out of an angel’s mouth are “Don’t be afraid.”

When the angel appears to Mary to announce that Jesus wasn’t dead, but alive, those were his first words.

It raises an interesting question. Are you afraid of God?

There’s a strange sense in which fear is understandable and appropriate. We are, after all, dealing with God, in the same way that the people at Jesus’ empty tomb saw supernatural beings (and a dead man who was missing because he was, well, not dead anymore). If that doesn’t induce a bit of awe and fear, I don’t know what will. And it should. Awe and wonder are appropriate.

But fear…well, the angels say no.

All the reasons to fear had been taken away.

God loves you.
Your sins are forgiven in Christ.
An intimate relationship with God is possible through Jesus.

So here are two questions.

Are you afraid of God?
If so, why and what could you do today to take the first step in overcoming that?

Respond

Belong – Because you can belong before you believe.
To what extent are you afraid that God will reject you? People who felt like they didn’t belong were actually welcomed by Jesus. Does that help address your fear?

Believe – Because those who belong often start to believe.
What would keep you from believing in Christ? Is any fear attached to it? If so, pray through that fear.

Become – Because everyone who believes can become someone new.
Are you afraid to get closer to God? Many people want enough of a relationship with Christ to go to heaven, but not a deep enough one to truly change them. Any of that inside you? Why? What’s underneath that?

Dear God, I want a relationship with you that’s filled with awe, but not with fear. Help me to learn to trust you so I can feel like I belong, come to believe or become what you truly want me to become. Through Christ I pray, Amen.

– by Carey Nieuwhof

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8 Comments

  1. Sonya says, April 3, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I’m not afraid of God, but maybe afraid of getting closer to Him. I am not sure why I feel this way. Over the years I have noticed a pattern: I start to get closer but then pull away. I ask for God’s help and want to give my life to Him but then something shuts down inside and I back away. I never give up, I know he is always there waiting. Is it possible that I’m afraid of finding happiness in God because deep down I feel like I don’t deserve to be happy? Does that even make sense?

  2. Trish says, April 3, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Sonya, I can relate to that. Up until yesterday hasn’t prayed since my baby had her first flu 7 months ago. I prayed for her healing and then I just pulled back inside myself.

    Yesterday, when I was praying, God showed me a few things. 1. I don’t trust Him because I don’t believe He loves me. I never thought my father did. I was always told he never wanted me to be born. 2. When my dad died he told me he really did want me from the first day he knew about me. Then, I heard, “I said the same thing when I died.” 3. There is hope.

  3. linda says, April 3, 2013 at 7:55 am

    i believe most people are afraid of change and its even scarier when they are not in control of what happens – giving up your life to God means you can t control the outcome, that is scary.
    i think, the becoming happens, when your trust grows and you realize it would be even scarier if God wasn’t by your side every step of the way and you were doing life all alone – then, be very afraid —- signed, looking ahead to becoming even more

    • Carey Nieuwhof says, April 3, 2013 at 8:31 am

      Such a great point Linda. There are different things to fear – and a world without God is something to be very afraid of. Thank you!

  4. pat says, April 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

    The fear is totally taken away when we surrender every aspect of our lives to God. He gives you a peace like nothing you have never experienced in your life before and you are awestruck everytime He comes through for you. Freedom comes from total Surrender! It is the hardest thing to do…but worth it in the end. Total trust is what God wants from us. Hope this makes sense.

    • Carey Nieuwhof says, April 3, 2013 at 8:31 am

      Wonderfully put. A wonderful place to be in Pat. That’s great!

  5. Yvonne says, April 3, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I had a conversation with my teenage sons after InsideOut last week and one of my boys blurted out, “Why would I want to trust God? He let my Dad die and I had to grow up without a father. How good is that?” It shocked me. This boy was only a year old when his daddy went home to be with the Lord. I struggled a lot with faith and trust following that event but I thought I did it privately away from my young lads (the other one was two at the time). How can I talk to them that trusting God doesn’t mean that everything will work out nicely or even the way you hoped? Bad things still happen when you’re trusting God. I know God never left me during the tough times. I’ve tried to communicate that. But still,they were tough times on a lot of different levels. No denying that. Has my son associated trusting God with really bad things happening?

  6. Carey Nieuwhof says, April 5, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Yvonne, that’s a great question. Thank you for asking it. I can imagine that this is going to be a whole new season for you and your boys in the journey of the loss of their dad. I would think it’s normal and natural for teenage boys to ask questions like this as they begin to move into life as adults. Although I’m not an expert, 3 things come to mind:

    1. Continue to let them ask these questions. Simply by knowing its ok to ask, you can help your kids to grieve and process the loss they feel.

    2. I love how you’ve already shared with them your personal grieving process of the loss of your husband. Continue to share and they’ll see its authentic.

    3. Take them to passages like Romans 8 (and others), that shows God being present and active in all things, both the good and the bad. It might help them see that the christian faith embraces the real world, not just the ideal world a lot of us wish we lived in.

    4. Finally, I love that your boys are part of InsideOut because they’ll be able to process things like this with their group leader and peers with some other common voices.

    So I think you’re on the right track. I hope in some small way we can help.

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