Fear and uncertainty are completely normal. Universally speaking, success comes when you push past your reservations, take a risk and run headlong into the unknown.
Here are five things Christians fear that might be prohibiting their freedom and effectiveness:
There have been times when shame has been valuable in my life. Believe it or not, I’m not proud of everything I do (nor should I be). Shame’s humiliation has, at times, been a great benefit to me. Most of the time, though, it hasn’t been a blessing.
Shame can be a tool used by others to keep us in line. And because we fear the alienation that comes with being shamed, we don’t always act when we should. We’re often afraid to speak out, disagree and not tow the party line because we fear the disapproval and alienation of our tribe.
As a rule, the majority isn’t always in the right.
True community isn’t built on being entirely homogeneous. Don’t be afraid to disagree, to challenge or to be different. In the end, if you’re not accepted for your unique perspective, you might be in the wrong place anyway.
No one wants to look stupid. But let’s face it, Christianity pretty much guarantees that at times, you will. No, I am not disparaging my faith—it’s God’s intention.
“God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” —Paul (1 Corinthians 1:28–31)
If Christianity was all about the most intelligent arguments, we Christians could all sit around and pat ourselves on the back for being smart enough to figure it out. Luckily for us, it’s not.
A God who’d save people by allowing them to kill him is foolish, and there’s a glorious salvation in that absurdity. You don’t have to have to win debates to express the beauty of the cross; you just have to get over your fear of people thinking you’re an idiot.
From the simplest to the most well-informed people, God’s kingdom is available to all. This is good news! If its accessibility is contingent on my looking a little silly, it seems like a fair trade.
Sometimes the most powerful words you can say are, “I don’t know.” But man, Christians seem to be so scared of uncertainty.
Scripture doesn’t intend or pretend to answer all of the universe’s questions. In fact, if you’re honest, it introduces questions you didn’t think to ask. Half of our problem is the need to create an air-tight theology that rids the world of its mysteries. I’m convinced that a lot of the dogmatism that we bicker and fight about is not only factually incorrect, it’s unnecessary.
Just relax. Sometimes it’s more comforting to admit you don’t have the answers and use that as a basis for hope and trust. It sure beats constantly needing to defend an intellectual citadel you’ve built to imprison your doubts.
No one likes to feel embattled, but we will. And when we are, we need to respond with kindness, grace and love.
Because we fear being an opposed minority, we often wrongheadedly seek power. If people are going to be at odds with us, it’s probably best that we have the ability to “lord over” them, right!? We continually seek this control despite the fact that, historically speaking, an empowered Christianity has often been a terrible Christianity.
I honestly cannot find a shred of New Testament teaching that sees Christianity as a force that thrives with power. Everything beautiful about Christianity lies in its opposition to the world’s values.
- Where the world lusts for power, the church embraces service.
- Where the world values the strong, the church gives deference to the weak.
- Where the world bows to the rich, the church values the poor.
Jesus promised opposition to those who were serious about following him. This means that if you’re on the receiving end of hostility based on your closeness to Christ, you’re in the exact right place—and Christ is glorified in how you respond.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but pain is coming for us all. As sure as you draw breath, things are going to happen that you didn’t expect or desire. The sooner you come to grips with that truth and quit avoiding it, the sooner you can get on with living passionately.
We spend a lot of time avoiding pain’s inevitability, both in our own life and in the lives of others. We miss out on a lot of what makes life incredible.
While I don’t embrace a theology that makes God the author of the bad things we experience, I do believe that he excels in turning our defeats, sorrows and disappointments into amazing victories and opportunities to display his glory.
We don’t just miss out by avoiding our own pain, we miss out when we avoid the pain of those around us. Sometimes it’s scarier to enter into the terror of someone else’s experience because we don’t know what to do, and it reminds us of our own vulnerability.
Truly trusting God means that we, of all people, should be running toward the uncertain, precarious areas of life. We should be the most courageous, audacious and resolute people on the planet.
What things do you think Christians fear that they shouldn’t?