Friendships won't develop if we are fearful. The Bible tell us that.

“God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

When we’re full of fear and anxiety, we tend to treat everyone with suspicion and we keep people at arm's length. When we live in fear, we tend to back off and disallow anyone from really getting to know us. We’re afraid someone will find a flaw in us and not like us, someone will realize we are not as perfect as the image we portray on our Facebook page and that they may run from us. Truth is, no one is perfect and most people are more concerned about image than reality.

Relational fear is as old as humanity. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden, God came looking for them. Adam said, “I was afraid ... so I hid” (Genesis 3:10 NIV).

Prior to this, Adam covered himself but had Eve make her own covering. People have been doing that ever since -- isolating themselves from one another, hiding their true selves. So, we can wear masks and gravitate to creating and image of who we want people to think we are. That is so much work. Why are people afraid to be real and honest and transparent? You and I know that is something we must fight. Fear does terrible things to current friendships and the possibilities of new ones.

  1. Fear moves us to distance. When we are afraid, we move toward isolation. We may be in a crowd but we choose not to be connected.
  2. Fear makes us defensive. We’re afraid to reveal ourselves. We defend ourselves. When people point out our weaknesses in an effort to make us better we put up a wall of defense.
  3. Fear makes us demanding. Whenever we’re insecure, and the more insecure we are, the more we try to control. We try to dominate, have things our way and press against relational depth.

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Imagine your life free from the fear that keeps you away from relationships. Imagine your life lived in healthy exchange with others. Imagine your life benefiting from the right friends who can encourage you and press you forward toward your goals. Ask God to help you with the courage to move into relationships without fear. Trust others enough to go one layer deeper.

Everybody’s looking for a true friend, not just acquaintances, but people who are there with you when you need them most. The best way to have great friends is to be one.

The Bible says, “God is love” and “Love casts out all fear.” The more of God you have in your life, the less of fear you’re going to have in your life. The more of God you have in your life, the more love you will have flowing through your life. Put down your fear and pick up love and move deeper in relationships that will impact your life and the life of others.

Bernie Federmann is the senior pastor of the Lompoc Foursquare Church and chaplain for Lompoc police and fire departments. He can be reached through the church website at mylfc.com.

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