If you have been going to church very long, surely you’ve heard or read what the Bible tells us about fear and being afraid. Still, many Christians, especially Christian men, miss out on so much of what God wants to bless them with due to their own fear.
I know I know. There are plenty of you Godly men who have no problem making sure everyone knows there isn’t an ounce of fear or weakness inside of you. It’s my prayer that one day, you will become honest enough with yourself that you’re finally able to accomplish something for the glory of God.
Yes, the Bible tells us not to be afraid or discouraged. Because God is with us, we are not to fear anything. That being said, every one of us, regardless of how hard we try, fail to obey everything God’s Word commands us. Again, if you’re one of the men who say this statement doesn’t apply to yourself, please leave a comment. You need a lot of people to start praying for you.
Fear separates us from God
I realize you didn’t click on this article to read about my life. I simply need to share part of my story to get my message across. As Christians, fear is one of the many tools the enemy uses against us. It’s one of his key ingredients to create separation between us and God. For the previous two years, I’ve allowed my faith as well as my career to be dominated by fear. I can’t accept that anymore. It’s time for a change. Writing is part of the process of how I go about doing this.
In late 2012, I discovered my passion for writing about how Scripture can be applied in our daily lives. Something I had written that was published played a huge part in me receiving a full-ride scholarship to study theology at Aidan University in Jacksonville, Florida. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to preach or do any kind of public speaking about the Christian faith. I’m a writer. The plan has always been to write something regularly that would inspire others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Since 2012, there have been many changes in my life. The one thing that has always remained the same regardless of what was going on was God’s purpose for me. To write about His Word. After starting my first semester in January of 2103, many doors have been opened I know God has played a significant role in.
More and more opportunities came in regards to my education. I would receive emails out of the blue asking me to write about the Christian faith for websites and magazines. I started my own ministry, Gospel Grammar, and was blessed by quite the online audience. I was also blessed with a wife and our daughter.
In early 2018, that marriage came to a screeching halt. There had been several separations in the past, but this one has been permanent. I need to be clear about something here. I’m not asking for prayer concerning a broken marriage. We are both at peace with the decisions that have been made. It doesn’t mean one of us is a bad person or that one of us doesn’t love Jesus enough.
Read: Developing a Faith worth Sharing
It simply means there has been a ton of hurt and pain and we are both ready to move on with life. As parents of our little girl, we get along better right now than we have for years. Actually, we can say that about each of the times we have separated. But, we begin to get along so well that one of us talks the other into trying to save the marriage again. Every time, the separations are harder. It leads to hurt one another, especially our daughter. We both are finished with that. Now, the fear part.
As I mentioned, since 2012, there’s been one goal, professionally. To write about God and the Bible. I’ve spent years of my life pursuing an education in theology. I’ll be honest. More than once, I’ve been willing to try and fix my marriage simply to save the opportunity of being known as a “Christian” writer.
I get it. People have a hard time listening or reading something about applying Scripture to their daily lives written by someone who is divorced. Jesus was pretty clear on where He stood on the subject. Back in 2018, just following the separation, I spoke to several people about pursuing this passion and calling I have. I got a ton of great feedback. Some of it encouraged me to pursue what I wanted to do.
There was some input that being known as a Christian writer is something that would never happen for me now. The possibility of preaching was definitely out of the question. As I said, I know the Bible pretty well. I wasn’t surprised by any of this. It’s exactly what I expected.
I allowed the fear of what I thought would happen to lead me to give up. I put an end to Gospel Grammar which was an incorporated 501c3 nonprofit organization at the time. I finished the particular degree in theology I was working towards and didn’t move on to the next. My writing career switched to sports. Instead of writing with the intent of saving souls and inspiring people to seek a deeper relationship with Jesus, I became very popular as someone who wrote about grown men playing games that children play. I’ve been miserable ever since.
The effects of fear
When we allow fear to have even an inch of space in our lives, everything about who we are changes. It affects the way we pray and the time we spend with God. When we allow this to get too serious, the church becomes different. I allowed this to grow so intense that I stopped going to church altogether for a long time.
I tried everything I could. I’d sit in the front pew on Sunday. For a while, I hid as much as I could in the back of the church. I went through the process of converting to the Catholic Church. I tried everything I could to experience God the way I did while I was still writing. Nothing worked. Fear controlled who I was.
Identifying this fear
There’s a good chance any fear you may have looked a lot different than mine. That doesn’t matter. All fear is evil and comes from the enemy. My fear was that because of a divorce, my purpose was gone. Because no one wants to read what a divorced man writes about the Bible, there was no longer a driving purpose in my life. I knew God didn’t need me for anything. That being said, there was a calling involved. Writing about the Bible is a part of my identity, who I was created to be.
Regardless of what your fear may be, until you’re able to identify exactly what it is and why it’s there, it will control you. However, once you give this fear an identity, the process can begin of defeating it. By putting a name on what it is you’re afraid of, you are given away to discuss the issue with God. You begin praying about it differently and have a way of sharing the experience with others. Once you have identified your fear and exactly why and how it’s there, it can be defeated.
Joshua 1:9 Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Discussing your fear with God
When I first accepted the fact that I was afraid of something and it had control of me, I hated reading or hearing this verse. I think I heard three or four sermons centering around the verse within the first six weeks of realizing how strong my fear was. For the record, I listen to a ton of sermons online. Nevertheless, the topic continued to come up in my life and I put more and more effort into avoiding it.
Finally, around six months ago, I couldn’t take it anymore. I started talking to God about what I was afraid of. It wasn’t a pleasant conversation at first. Every time I would pray about it or write God a letter, that fear would turn into anger and resentment towards Him. Looking back, I think He was ok with that. No, I didn’t know how to go about this fear, but I was at least willing to acknowledge it was there when I spent time with Him.
If you had a fear pop into your mind as soon as you began reading this, I encourage you to start talking to God about it. Even if it leads to anger or frustration, allow yourself to get it out in the open with God. If you can’t do it with Him, there’s no way you’ll be authentic about sharing this with others. That’s when the real healing begins to happen.
Being authentic about your fear
The only way you will ever be able to overcome your fear is by being authentic with God and others about what you’re afraid of. If you do this right, you will get angry. You’ll feel hurt. There’s a good chance your eyes are going to get wet if you know what I mean. Still, if you’re unwilling to be authentic and real about what you are afraid of, you can’t expect anything to change.
Without looking back through a few journals, I can’t remember when this took place for me. I do know that it didn’t happen overnight. It happened over time. This is how sanctification works. If your fear disappeared all at once, faith wouldn’t be involved. I think every great fear requires at least a season of life crying out to God. That’s how His love and His Word become something you feel instead of black words on a white page you read.
If you have a significant fear, something is wrong. Healing is required. Pieces have to be completely broken before something new can form.
In the last month, I’ve started writing for a few Christian websites again. There are book deals with two different publishers. I’m back in school pursuing another degree in theology. I’m back to studying the Bible instead of simply reading it. My prayers are more authentic than they’ve been in a very long time.
I don’t know how an audience will respond to someone writing about applying God’s Word in their life when they’ve had a marriage end in failure. What I do is God put something in my heart a long time ago, and I allowed fear to get in the way. I don’t ever want to feel that again. That’s not the person God wants me to be.
Jeffrey has a degree in theology from Aidan University and is the founder of Gospel Grammar in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. His goal is to inspire others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
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