I know a guy whose afraid to leave his house. His fear paralyzes him in most any decision that he makes. When you talk to this guy there is a deep sense that he is guided by depression rather than good judgment. He’s a pessimist, he doesn’t like vacation, and meeting new people makes him anxious. I wonder why he is that way. However, meeting this person exposed something deep within me.
My biggest fear in life is to be paralyzed by fear. I told my wife this the other day and she laughed because I was afraid of being afraid, this must be some kind of paradox. It’s true though, every now and then I get anxious and ask myself what if I wind up like that? What if I wind up so afraid that I don’t take big risks? What if I don’t say things that need to be said? What if I’m not bold when I speak the gospel?
I think one of the biggest revolutions for me in the last couple of years is that I don’t have to be afraid. Constantly in scripture Jesus is asking his disciples, “why are you afraid?” or he just tells them, “Don’t be afraid.” It is easy to look at all of this on an elementary level and to simply say, “Don’t be afraid” and that’s it, but it is much more than that. The book of Acts reminds us that when we accept Jesus we also receive the Spirit. I think that some people don’t realize that they’ve received the Spirit. Some people go on an intellectual egg hunt to find nuggets of truth that they can hang on to. But at the end of the day those people may realize that they worship a book not the Holy God that wrote it. That’s a part of my story. Last summer I was sitting on the back of a boat and I realized that I worship pages and words more than I do Jesus. I had to get in touch with the Spirit I received when I accepted Jesus. So the last few months I’ve been on a quest to rediscover God, the Spirit.
I found that Paul talks a lot about the Holy Spirit and one of the things he says is that, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” So one of the things that characterizes someone who has received the Holy spirit is boldness. But it is not a boldness that comes from arrogance or intellect, it is a boldness that comes from being in touch with Holy Spirit that God freely gives you.
I don’t have to be afraid of being paralyzed by anxiety. I don’t have to be afraid of being like someone who I barley know. I can pray for them. I can encourage them. I can rely on the Spirit of God to give me a boldness that conquers anxiety and fear.
So don’t be afraid. Be bold. Don’t let your boldness come from your intellect, good looks or wit, that’s called obnoxious. Be bold because the God of the universe wants to dwell with you. If he is with you, then what is there to fear?Share