Don’t be paralyzed by fear

Have you ever been so terrified you don’t know what to do next?   Like a deer standing in the middle of a road staring into the headlights of an oncoming car, you were paralyzed by fear. Has that ever happened to you?    In the really intense situations it’s natural to hesitate but it’s dangerous to be paralyzed by fear.

There is a beautiful story in the New Testament of four friends that overcame their own fears in order to get help for their buddy. In Luke 5:18-20 some men “break in” to bring their friend to Jesus. (By “break-in” I mean literally broke through the roof of a crowded house to get a paralyzed friend to Jesus.)   This house was so crowded that they could not get to Jesus because of all the people. These four men loved their friend so much that they would not be deterred by the size of the crowd.   So, they did something amazing. They tore the roof apart and lowered their friend down to Jesus to be healed. Imagine the courage that it took to get this man to Jesus. Imagine the hard work they had to go through just to get him on a stretcher to Jesus.  I mean pulling a roof apart is no easy task. There is no doubt, these men loved their buddy. There’s no question, they would do anything for their friend.

The greatest demonstration of love

The greatest demonstration of love is to share something that you have with someone in need. If Jesus Christ has really changed your life and if you really love your friends, why wouldn’t you want your friends to come to know Jesus?  Why wouldn’t you be willing to go as far as these four guys for their sick friend?   In other words, if you really love Jesus and really love your friends, why don’t you talk to them about Jesus? I think there’s only one answer to this question… Fear!   It usually boils down to one of three specific fears. 1.We are afraid of sharing our faith because of what our friends might say. 2.We’re afraid of sharing Jesus because of what it might do to our relationship with them. 3.We are afraid of sharing Jesus because of the ridicule that may go along with it.

Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Let love for your friends become stronger than your fear of speaking out about your faith.   As my good friend and mentor, Dr. William Buck, often says, “Don’t let the fear of the sneer of the peer stop you from sharing Jesus.”  I like this statement because it admits that there is a real fear involved in sharing Jesus.  The closer you are to someone the greater the fear can become.  This statement also admits that the fear is often about how they might treat you after you’ve shared Jesus with them.  Don’t let that stop you.  Don’t let the fear of the sneer of the peer stop you from sharing Jesus.

 You can make a difference

Because these four guys had the courage to bring their friend to Jesus, the man was not only cured of his physical problems- Jesus also cured him of his greatest problem- he cured this man’s sin problem (Luke 5:24-25).  I can almost see the man on the mat repeatedly thanking his friends for what they did for him.  I’m sure that on the way home, this man was thanking his friends for their courage.

Dwight L. Moody was considered one of the greatest preachers of the 1800s. He preached all over the world and saw many lives transformed by King Jesus. He tells the story during one of his sermons of a young man who came to faith in Jesus because his mother had the courage to pray for him until her dying day.  Moody says,

“At Murfreesboro another illustration of this occurred. A young man received a letter from his mother, in which she said something like this: My dear boy. You do not know how I am burdened for your salvation. Every morning and evening I go into my closet and pray for you, that you may be led to the cross of Christ. You may die in battle, or in the hospital, and, oh, my son, I want you to become a Christian. I do not know but that this will be my last letter to you.’ Well, this young lieutenant came to me and said, ‘I have just heard of my mother’s death, and I have prayed for forgiveness of my sins.’ This young man was converted just through his mother’s faith. Although she was in glory, her voice was heard here.”[1]

Most sincere followers of Jesus understand the responsibility to tell others about Jesus.  What prevents us is the struggle with fear. Have you considered what happens if you don’t tell your friends or family about Jesus?  I know it’s scary, but consider what happens to their soul if no one tells them about Jesus.  King Jesus is ready to clean up their soul, and change their eternal destiny- and it’s you that he wants to use as his mouthpiece to reach them.   Please, for the sake of your friends and family, don’t be paralyzed by fear!

[1] Dwight Lyman Moody, New Sermons, Addresses, and Prayers (Cincinnati, OH: Henry S. Goodspeed & Co., 1877), 36.

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