Do you remember when you liked someone in grade school how afraid you were to talk to them? (Or maybe that’s still true today). You remember that paralyzing feeling of fear and how much it controlled you, that sick-to-your stomach feeling, that dizzy-I’m-going-to-faint feeling, that fear that made every thought you ever had fly out of your head the moment you opened your mouth so you just felt like an idiot with your mouth hanging open.
If I’m honest, I have this feeling about Christian stuff too. What will people say if I raise my hands in worship on Sundays or if I sing out my own words when we’re supposed to be singing Mighty to Save? What if I go up to receive prayer- what will people think? What will my coursemates say when I mention that I believe in Jesus? Or if I offer to pray for them? Suddenly you’re thinking: do I do this thing that makes me really uncomfortable that someone else might think is crazy?
The problem with fear like this is that it comes out of over-valuing peoples’ opinions over God’s opinion. If you get that little prompt to do something which you naturally wouldn’t do and you know you probably ought to be doing, it’s probably the Holy Spirit trying to teach you something, trying to stretch your faith and grow your relationship with God. We grow the most when we are open to being uncomfortable and willing to take risks we probably wouldn’t ever do on our own.
When we do the things we are afraid to do, we must rely on God’s strength. We must trust He knows what He’s doing in our lives even we don’t know what’s going on. Facing what scares us forces us to get on our knees, admit that we need God. It forces us to remember where our identity is— or rather Who it is found in —not in what others think, but in Christ.
Are we willing to die to ourselves in order to bring glory to God? Jesus said, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) The Kingdom of God does not grow without sacrifice. The grain of wheat must die to bear fruit and we must die to self if we want to see the Kingdom harvest.
Being a follower of Jesus means that we’ve committed to a life that is not cosy, and is not comfortable. Following Jesus means we are ready for an adventure that we’re not in control of, that’s beyond all we could think or imagine. Instead of saying “Oh God wouldn’t plan something that big or crazy for my life” let’s say “God, what kind of crazy things do you have for me?”
Let’s not be ruled by fear because “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord,..but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Tim 1:7-8). Paul says that “I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim 1:12). We know the character of Whom we have believed— we have seen His love, His goodness, His power in our own lives. Let’s not be ashamed of our God, of doing His work, even when it might be uncomfortable, or seem crazy to people. We know whom we have believed, and He will be faithful to us in every situation.
Let’s up our challenge level, let’s get uncomfortable, let’s stretch our faith in God, and let’s be expectant to see Him working in our lives and in others. How are you going to get uncomfortable this week?
Monica Godfrey is a Student Forgee who came to the Belfrey while pursuing her masters in modern literature at York Uni.