My Secret Love I want to talk about a friend of mine, a very special friend. We have a very special relationship, an intimate relationship that we only share in the dark of night, when the world isn’t watching and my wife is asleep. I know she’s there, waiting, watching me with her deep dark eyes. When I look into them my heart melts, I take her into my arms and she cuddles up, knowing she’s safe from the world. My heart is hers to command, I want nothing more than to sit there in the darkness with her in my arms. This relationship is born out of trust, she trusts me and no one else, and that trust is precious to me. While the armchair Christians stoke the fires of hell and pronounce judgment on my philandering ways I’ll tell you more about my love. Her name is Mabel, and she’s my hedgehog; if you’ve never seen a hedgehog, picture a cross between a porcupine and a pear.  Hedgies are timid things; they hide at the slightest sound and won’t open up for long periods of time. I take her every year to our youth group as a lesson for the kids.  I let them see her, which is always rolled up in a ball because of all the noise around her. I explain to them that a lot of people are like that, they have a hard cold unfriendly, prickly attitude that repels anyone and that they close up because they’re afraid of getting hurt. I explain that if a person takes the time and patience to get to know them they can be warm loving people once you gain their trust.  It teaches the kids not to judge a person by their initial attitude. Oh yes, if you’re one of those poor lost clueless souls that think we’re never to judge I suggest you read the article, Gracie then hit the back button to this article. But that’s not the lesson I want to impart now, I want to go a bit deeper, a harder to grasp lesson for adults. That’s why I decided to start with a little smut, nothing to get a persons attention like a little smut. I want to talk about a hedgehog’s fear of everything. Hedgies are by nature nocturnal, they sleep all day and are up foraging at night; right now its 11:30 pm and I hear Mabel behind me. When you first get a hedgie, it’s scared and you might not see its head for days; they won’t come out and stay out until they get to know and trust you. I know a lot of people like that too. It’s ok for a hedgehog, its not ok for a Christian. God never wanted us to be weak or timid, He never planned for us to live in fear. He created us to go through life Boldly. If you don’t believe that I can back it up: (2 Timothy 1:7)  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  There is also:  2Co 3:12  Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 1Jn 3:21  Dear friends, if we don't feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. Heb 10:19  And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, fear paralyzes us, it numbs us, it keeps us from living up to our potential, and worse, it keeps us from fulfilling His command to spread the Word. When we’re a prisoner of fear we won’t speak up and say what’s right when we know we should. When we’re paralyzed with fear we won’t take the step when the situation calls for action. I know this is much easier to type than it is to live but it’s important that we understand that there is nothing in this world that can happen to us that God can’t fix or compensate us for. We have to keep that in mind at all times or else we end up crippled by fear. What if fear had crippled John Glenn, we might never have touched space. What if fear had held the pilgrims in its grip? This country might not exist. And what about Frederick Douglass  or Dr Martin Luther King, or Martin Luther? What if Moses would have said “sorry, God’ I’m afraid to do this”, a nation might not have been born. I could go on and on and on about people in history who accomplished great things in spite of fear. I feel it necessary to make a confession, and this is serious. I wish it wasn’t the case but if I said anything other than the truth it would be sinning to cover up a sin. I have a deep contempt for people who let fear run their lives. I know that’s wrong and I hope to grow past it someday but it’s the dismal truth. I made this admission because that’s how strongly I feel about the matter. We MUST step out of our comfortable little houses into the scary world. We have to stand and look evil in the eye and not flinch. We MUST go where the ministry is, not in our comfortable little neighborhood. China, India, Africa, Iran, places that are neither safe nor comfortable. Now obviously not all of us can physically go to these places but the equivalent exists in our back yard. People are needed for prison ministries and fear can’t hold us back. People are needed to spread the word in half way houses and in public places. We need to stand in the middle of a room full of atheists and proclaim the Word and not ne afraid. Now don’t misunderstand me and think that nothing bad will happen. History tells us that’s just not true; terrible things might happen to us. Note that I said MIGHT, because every case doesn’t mean the worst outcome. It has to be remembered (and believed) that anything the world can do, God’s grace will overcome it. We might get insulted, we might get hit, we might get killed, but we still can’t live crippled by fear. We have to go to those dark scary places, we have to face the bullies, we have to speak the truth when its needed. we aren’t allowed the luxury of being hedgehogs, we have work to do. There is benefit to letting go of fear, one that makes it all even more worth it. Had Mabel never learned to trust me, our relationship would have never blossomed and we wouldn’t know each other. But she did get over her fear, at least to the point where she will open at night when its quiet.  Now we have the most wonderful times together. It’s the same with God, if we let go of our fear, we open up ourselves for a relationship with Him that can’t be described by my pitiful words. We can let Him see us and He will reveal Himself, and that’s more valuable than anything in the world. One last thing I need to cover in closing. The armchair Christians are fond of saying things like “God fearing” which shows a profound lack of understanding for what the bible says. There is no fear in love and God is love. I can back that up of course: (1 John 4:18)  There is no fear in love: true love has no room for fear, because where fear is, there is pain; and he who is not free from fear is not complete in love. Followed by: (1 John 4:16)  We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And third, just common sense, what kind if good parent wants their children to live in fear of them? None, neither does God. He doesn’t want His children to fear Him or the world, that’s for hedgehogs. Now that this is finished and proofread I’m going to spend some time with my girl.
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