Don’t shy away from the adventure of a lifetime. What adventure? Your own life! The Lord has plans to lead us into a life filled with passion and purpose, but the “keeper at the gate” is almost always a pesky, little demon of fear, making the next step seem too risky.
God says that He has not given us “a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). You can have one side or the other of that equation, but you can’t have both at the same time. So, where does our anxiety, shyness and dread come from? Let’s see: It doesn’t come from God. It doesn’t come from the new you. But it sure will keep the new creation side of you from showing up. Must be an alien invader from the dark side.
A Veil Removed
Sometimes the veil is pulled back, letting us catch a glimpse of truth and with it, clarity. A while back, I was going over the trail with one of our men in long-term recovery who left us too soon, relapsed into crack, then jail. I was looking for the fatal misstep. He has a problem surrendering to the Lord (they all do). He fell into the “don’ts” because he wasn’t doing the “do’s” (Bible, prayer, worship, fellowship and service really will help anyone stick close to Jesus).
No, it wasn’t the “usual suspects.” They were there on the surface alright. But the infernal hook went deeper. It usually does. What we saw with clarity took us both further into understanding the “mystery of iniquity”—in this case why addicts don’t stay hooked on Jesus once they meet Him. He opened up about two things, which taken together, provided a key for him and for all of us.
1) The Fear Blocker
The last time he was with us he admitted that he held back from sharing things that would come on his heart to say, then felt deflated every time. This unwanted timidity puzzled him, because he could boldly do anything that hustling up drug money required. Yet, time and again, the Christian side of him turned mousy when it came to baring his soul to a group.
The one time he “got out the gate” happened when he was unexpectedly tagged for telling his testimony in our church for the homeless. It terrified him, but he didn’t have time to wiggle out of it. Surprisingly (to him), the way it went and the impact it generated elated him afterwards, filling his spiritual sails. He’d been “pushed” past the fear blocker and discovered the wonder of a genuine “new life” adventure.
2) The Danger of Boredom
Then, he remembered how his relapse happened. His Christian life slowly shrank to the narrow confines of simply subtracting out the game-breaking “don’ts.” He gave up chasing drugs and women, hustling, smoking and hanging out with the wrong crowd. That was good, but it left him feeling bored. I call it being stuck in “The Neutral Zone” with the old passions shoved out, and the new passions barred from entering.
Boredom will kill you, if you let it. Sitting in church on Sundays is not enough of an adventure—not in most churches (though I have sat in some where seat belts would have been in order…). He started thinking to himself: “I can’t live like this. This is going nowhere!” So, he headed out to life’s highway “looking for adventure” in the only direction he knew to search. His former passions seemed like a safer bet, than opening wide to whatever Jesus might have had in Mind.
The True Adventure
Now, let’s put it together. He never got hooked on the true spiritual adventure, because that first time he was with us, when the Lord put something on his heart, he shied away from doing it. Later, he kept that pattern going. True, he fought to keep the wrong things out. Tragically, however, he tried to make a “safe” life for himself inside the Christian boundaries—by avoiding anything that made him feel uncomfortable. What a guaranteed formula for failure! Your real life and mine lies beyond our comfort zones. For help with this, see “Set Free by the Keys.”
How can Jesus ever lead us into NEW LIFE, if we insist on being in the lead so that we can steer clear of things that make us anxious or afraid? That inevitably leaves us bored and bothered by the nagging question, “Is this all there is?” Heavens no!
The truth is that you’ve got to bet your life on Jesus to find what’s really out there waiting for you to discover. As the Great Reformer, Martin Luther, said, “Faith is a bold, daring confidence in the grace of God.” Pray hard for courage, follow the Spirit’s promptings, then step out in faith into one risky moment after another, and you will have one whale of an adventure!
For more on Spirit led guidance see “Walking in the Spirit” at our website for healing.