Fear and Making Disciples 1

The fears that your disciple is being forced to face is an indicator of where the Lord is at work in his life. One cannot follow Jesus and fear. Jesus confronted the fear in the hearts of his own men by leading them directly into their fears. One day a lake storm came up while he was asleep in the boat; he was frantically awakened by his disciples who were afraid for their lives. He was amazed at their lack of faith, for all fear is the consequence of a void of faith (Matthew 8:24). Even today, as a man seeks to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit will lead him into his deepest fears in order for him to face and root out those fears.

When your disciple faces his fear it can have an adverse affect on his attitude and behavior. People respond to fear differently, some lash out (possibly at you!), some withdraw, and others self-medicate. During these times of fear it is not only an opportunity for you to teach your disciple the power and love of God, it is also an important time for you to affirm your own love for him.

Here are a couple of suggestions as you walk your disciple through his fears:

  1. Pray for the faith of your disciple, that it will remain strong.
    • Luke 22:31-32 “Jesus said, ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.'”
    • 1 Thess 3:10 “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.”
  2. Do not project you own fears on your disciple, nor minimize the object of their fear. We do not all fear the same things.
  3. Love and fear are incompatible. Clearly communicate both God’s love for your disciple, as well as your own.
    • 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

3 thoughts on “Fear and Making Disciples 1

  1. Lewie,

    I love this love this love this post!

    I recently heard some rich things on this very topic:

    1. While we all experience many different kinds of fears, we typically have ONE main fear that we tend to wrongly believe. This fear is usually something we wrongly believe about ourselves.

    This develops because things happen to people–good things and bad things. When things happen, even from a very young age we draw conclusions about ourselves.

    For example: A 3-year old is scolded by her mother. Does she think, “Mommy must be in a bad mood today.”? No; while the youngster wouldn’t be able to articulate it, she would think, “I’m in trouble. I was bad.” In other words, the conclusions she draws aren’t about her mother or the situation, they are about herself.

    2. If we are not aware of that one core fear, it is probably still controlling us in some way.

    3. When we wrongly believe that core fear, we will consequently function out of it.

    Here’s another example: If a person’s core fear is that he or she is defective in some way, he will consistently feel and make choices out of that conclusion that he has drawn about himself.

    To continue with this example, when his core fear is triggered by things that happen in life, as you said, he will tend to lash out, withdraw, or self-medicate. If the person believing he is defective is cut off in traffic, he is outraged and thinks, “Back off buddy! There’s nothing wrong with me–I can drive too!”

    Ultimately, when his core fear is challenged, the question he wants answered deep inside is, “Am I worthy of love?”…That’s why your emphasis on affirming your love and God’s love for him is paramount.

    Keep the blog posts coming! Brilliant stuff here, friend.

  2. Thanks for this, Lewie. It’s amazing to me how many times my first reaction to someone expressing fear is to want to rationalize it away, walk them through the steps of why they shouldn’t be afraid.

    Yet, in the end, it is only perfect love that casts out fear. More than any reasoning I can give, the affirmation of God’s love in word and deed is the best support I can give anyone in their time of fear.

    I want to learn better how to love as a first response in all situations.

  3. thanks lew,

    2 things: 1) you said “2. Do not project you own fears on your disciple, nor minimize the object of their fear. ” how do we do this? I am sure that I probably do this, but am not completely sure what this means, how i do it, and how i keep from doing it?

    and per ramon, I think that i too attempt to rationalize away people’s fears (including my own). this makes it tough for me to recognize fear as fear and not rationalize it away, but embrace it and love through it…yikes.


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