by Rick Warren — August 1, 2022
From Awesome Relationships
“For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (TLB)
This fear is as old as humanity. When Adam and Eve sinned, God came looking for them. Then Adam said, “I was afraid . . . and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10 ESV). People have been hiding ever since.
You may not physically hide, but you hide your true self. You don’t let people know what you’re really like. You don’t let them see inside you. Why? Because you believe that if you show people your true self and they don’t like it, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle. Instead, you pretend to be someone you’re not.
This fear leads to three things that will damage your relationships:
Fear makes you defensive. You’re afraid to reveal yourself, but people inevitably spot some of your weaknesses. And when they point out those weaknesses, you defend yourself and retaliate.
Fear keeps you distant. You’re afraid to be open and honest—to let people get close to you. Instead, you withdraw and pull back so you can hide your emotions. You become defensive and distant.
Fear makes you demanding. The more insecure you are, the more you try to control and dominate. For you, it might look like always having to get in the last word in a conversation. Being demanding is always a symptom of fear and insecurity.
Clearly, fear only damages your relationships. But where do you get the courage to take the first step to connect with someone and move toward deeper intimacy?
You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (TLB).
How do you know you’re filled with God’s Spirit? You’re filled with God’s Spirit when you’ve become more courageous in your relationships. Rather than fearing people, you’re free to love them and enjoy being with them.
The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8 TLB) and that “perfect love drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18 GNT). The more of God you have in your life, the less fear you’re going to have in your life.
The starting point in connecting with anyone is to pause, pray, and say, “God, give me the courage to take the first step.” Are you ready to pray that for one of your relationships today?