Three Things Fear Does to 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).
If you want to connect with someone, you’ve got to be willing to take the first step. This often requires courage. Why? Because it’s fear that disconnects human beings. When we’re full of fear and anxiety, we don’t get close to others. In fact, we back off. We’re afraid of being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, used. All of these fears cause us to stay disconnected in life.
This fear is as old as humanity itself. When Adam and Eve sinned and God came looking for Adam, Adam said, “I was afraid, and I hid.” People have been doing that ever since. We’re afraid, so we hide. We hide our true selves. We don’t let people know what we’re really like, because if we do and they don’t like us, we face rejection. And so we pretend.
Fear does three terrible things to relationships:
- Fear makes us defensive. When people point out weaknesses, we retaliate and defend ourselves.
- Fear keeps us distant. We don’t let people get close to us. We withdraw. We hide our emotions.
- Fear makes us demanding. The more insecure we are, the more we attempt to control things. We try to have the last word in a relationship. We seek to dominate.
So where do you get the courage to take the first step to connect with someone and go to a deeper level of intimacy?
You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. The Bible says, “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).
How do you know when you’re filled with God’s Spirit? You’re more courageous in your relationships. You love people. You enjoy being with them. You’re not afraid of them, because God’s Spirit is in your life. The Bible says that “God is love” and “Love casts out all fear.” The more of God you have in your life, the less fear you’re going to have.
Talk It Over
What relationship in your life needs to go deeper? Pray, and ask God for the courage to take the first step toward growth with that person today.
What evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work do you see in your relationship?
What new habit could help you get closer to Jesus?
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This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.