What is your greatest fear? Beyond snakes, spiders, and heights, there are some fears that go with us everywhere we go. For some people, it is the fear that they are not lovable. For some, the fear is that they have no real worth. Maybe you are afraid of failing. Or you could be afraid of succeeding, because you don’t know how you would handle it if you actually did. One of my big fears that grew into my life was that I wasn’t important enough, and I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love. Sometimes, that fear comes back seemingly out of nowhere, and drives me to prove that I am worthwhile to others. Here is the truth about fear: Until you face and acknowledge your greatest fear, it drives your behavior.
We orient our lives around our fears. We make sure we don’t have to do certain things because we are afraid of the outcome. The question that comes up is, “What happens if ______?” You get to fill in the blank. It is your fear. And your life. But fear drives us to do things we never would have dreamed of doing. The other frustrating part about fear is how it exhausts the human heart. When you orient your life around avoiding your greatest fear, you will be exhausted.
One thing the Spirit always brings is courage. This is one of the reasons I want to be Spirit-led. I really don’t want to waste my life as a shell of the man I could be. Instead, I want to face my fears. This is one of the things the Holy Spirit is helping me do, and I believe will help you do as well.
This is the way it works. Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, is completely in love with you. This is perfect love, and His love fills the universe. It is mind-boggling, and the sheer gravity of it could strike fear in us that anyone could love this much. Jesus loves us the same way He loved His disciples. He invites us to walk with Him, follow Him, and take us through many challenges to make us better. One of His disciples, John wrote, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18.)
A few years before writing this, John stood with his friend Peter in front of a crowd of angry unbelieving men who could put them to death, and backed these words from Peter. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12.) What happens next tells the story best. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13.)
The angry crowd of unbelieving men heard them say that Jesus is the only name by which people are saved, and they were astonished by their courage because they were ordinary men. It was all because Peter and John had been with Jesus. Jesus loves you in the most perfect way, and the Holy Spirit makes you very bold. In other words, Jesus loves you in a way that will drive out your greatest fear if you’ll give it to Him, and the Holy Spirit will fill you with courage so that you can reveal Jesus to other people. The beauty of this is simple, yet profound. It plays into all the areas of our lives.
Today is a great day to live courageously. You can have courageous, Spirit-led, Jesus-centered relationships. Step into it. Live fully in the Lord’s love. It is an adventure of love and courage. This is the greater life that is led by the Spirit.