Are you ever afraid to spend time with God? Maybe feelings of dread and shame make you want to run and hide. But is that what God has in mind for you?
All growing up, my family had devotions together. I dreaded them and hoped my outer childish fidgeting didn’t reveal my squirming heart. These were the times when I was afraid God would reveal my sinful nature to more than me. My parents certainly seemed to know when I wasn’t being obedient to them.
I unknowingly carried these feelings of dread and shame right into my adulthood when it came to spending time with God. As soon as the thought would come, a mental battle would ensue. More times than not, I wanted to run and hide. A daily seeking of my Creator didn’t exist; I was afraid to have time with God.
When It All Changed
At the climax of my prodigal story, God entered the picture as a gentle Father, loving and wooing my rebellious heart back into a true relationship with Him. I had certainly walked away, but God made it very clear that He would love me regardless. His love surpassed my rejection of Him.
No other human on the planet knew what sins I had delved into, but God used my mother as an instrument to minister grace to my wayward heart.
It was at that moment that I learned God wasn’t an angry God, seething on the throne when He looked my way. It’s true that He has emotions (Ephesians 4:30); He grieved over my duped state of mind. My Father loved me and wanted me to know the truth and see the truth make me free.
You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32
When the revelation of that sunk deep into my heart, my thought process changed. The fear—literal dread—of coming before Him transformed to sweet delight and having a correct fear of God. He had proven His love once again in the passionate pursuit of me!
What About You?
Are you afraid to spend time with God? Do you tend to avoid it because you’re afraid of what He might say? That He’ll point out your sin? That He’ll “read your mail,” and tell it to the world?
Maybe you’re not afraid to seek God, but you hesitate at the thought?
But Jesus knew their thoughts. Luke 6:8 NLT
If Jesus knew what the scribes and the Pharisees were thinking, then He surely knows your thoughts. Right? Doesn’t this mean it leaves no room for hiding?
The truth is, this kind of thinking is FEAR, and fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7).
God is going to say more to you than just point out what’s wrong in your life!Maybe feelings of dread and shame make you want to run and hide. But is that what God has in mind for you? #LiveYielded #ThrivingInChrist Click To Tweet
How God Points out Your Sin
When Jesus showed His disciples where they were missing the mark, He was gentle:
He came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?” 34 But they were silent, for they had disputed with one another on the way about who was the greatest. 34 But they were silent, for they had disputed with one another on the way about who was the greatest. 5 He sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.” 36 He took a little child and set him in the middle of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, doesn’t receive me, but him who sent me.”Mark 9:33-37
Did you notice how Jesus…
- didn’t point out their sin of selfishness
- didn’t rebuke them for arguing
- gave them a related truth
- used an object lesson
He didn’t ignore their sin, but there was no angry shaming going on here.
It’s true that Jesus rebuked some, but He also knew they had the temperament to handle it. Peter, for example. (Jesus rebukes him in Matthew 16:21-23 and on a few other occasions.) I studied his life in depth when writing the New Beginnings Bible study for HelloMornings, and one one of the study days I wrote:
Peter’s denial is one that seems to be more famous than the story of his restoration. It shouldn’t be so! We can often relate to Peter’s fall, and it is a significant story. How much more could we be affected by the telling of his mending from a merciful God?
Don’t Be Afraid to Spend Time with God
It’s funny/not funny when I catch a I’m-avoiding-you-because-I’m-guilty look on one of my kids’ faces. Or one of those toddlers in the nursery smiling at you so cutely hoping you won’t notice their dusty halo. Ha! They don’t want to get into trouble because they know they did something wrong. That’s the point: they already know.
And so do we. The Holy Spirit’s conviction is uncomfortable yet gentle.
Since we are usually aware of our sin before we even come to spend time with God, what if we looked at things differently? What if we did all of James 4:8, and drew near with repentance?
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. James 4:8 NLT
It’s His KINDNESS that leads us to repentance:
Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4
What does God have in mind for us?
John 10:10 (NLT) explains it, where Jesus says:
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.The devil hopes you’ll look through his altered, false view of God, and live afraid to spend time with God. #LiveYielded #ThrivingInChrist Click To Tweet
The enemy is going to feed you lies and try to make you afraid to have a Daily Time with God, but God’s plan is to HELP you in life. The devil hopes you’ll look through his altered, false view of God, but when you know the truth, it makes you free (John 8:32).
Has the enemy ever tried to make you afraid to spend time with God? What happened?