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Three Things Fear Does to Relationships
By Rick Warren

“For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (TLB)

If you want to connect with someone, you need to be willing to take the first step. This often requires courage. Why? Because it’s fear that disconnects human beings.

When we’re full of fear and anxiety, it’s difficult to get close to others. In fact, we back off. We’re afraid of being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, or hurt. All these fears can cause us to stay disconnected in life.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve gave us an example of what many of us do when we’re afraid. After they sinned, God came looking for Adam. And Adam told God, "I was afraid . . . so I hid" (Genesis 3:10 NIV). People have been doing that ever since. We’re afraid, so we hide. We hide our sins. We hide our true selves. We don’t let people know what we’re really like—because if we do and they don’t like us, we’ll face rejection. And so we pretend.

Fear does three terrible things to relationships:

Fear makes us defensive. When people point out our weaknesses, we retaliate and defend ourselves.

Fear keeps us distant. We don’t let people get close to us. We withdraw. We hide our emotions.

Fear makes us demanding. The more insecure we are, the more we attempt to control things. We try to have the last word in a relationship. We seek to dominate.

So where do you get the courage to take the first step to connect with someone and go to a deeper level of intimacy?

You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. The Bible says, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (2 Timothy 1:7 TLB).

How do you know when you’re filled with God’s Spirit? You’re more courageous in your relationships. You love people. You enjoy being with them. You’re not afraid of them—because God’s Spirit is in your life.

The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8 ESV) and that “love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18 TLB). Is fear undermining your relationships? The more of God you have in your life, the less fear will have a hold on your life.

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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