Are You Fearless?

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. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So, we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

1 John 4:16-18 NLT

Step 4 of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous states “we made a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves.” 

What does “fearless” mean? This world describes it as outward courage that shows itself through selfless acts of bravery. In the church it sometimes means outward actions that go against the current social order. Things like standing up to authority in spite of the consequences and making tough decisions that don't have tangible rewards are some of the actions that can be characterized as fearless. In the context of recovery and the fourth step inventory in particular, being fearless means that we are not afraid to expose all we have done for fear of condemnation and judgment. Christ has already paid the price and no matter what e confess, He will love us unconditionally. How awesome is that truth!

If we extend that further into the realm of everyday life, fear is an emotion that is well known.  Fear and its relation of anxiety arise when we consider the uncertainty of the future and whether outcomes will be as we imagine.  Faith as a counter to fear can sometimes seem to fail us because we are unable to completely dispel the doubts that we deal with.  I have heard it said that faith is the not absence of doubt but action in spite of.  To be fearless does not mean that we don’t experience the emotion.  It means we make decisions and take actions that are directly connected to the outcomes we expect, even if the materialization of those outcomes is very uncertain.

To be fearless also means to be courageous and vulnerable.  Dr. Bréne Brown, author and social researcher, says that courage and vulnerability are synonymously connected.  Being courageous means being willing to tell our story in a way that sheds light on all of the areas of shame that threaten to keep us imprisoned.  We all have the capacity to be vulnerable but for various reasons, fear (of ridicule, labelling, being envisioned as weak) keeps us from the freedom that awaits on the other end of the inventory.  As believers we have the strongest reason to be vulnerable.  Nothing we have done is held against us.  Christ paid the price and his omniscience (all-knowing quality) saves us from the judgment of others. 

How would you characterize your fearlessness?  Are you struggling to be courageous and vulnerable?  Has the uncertainty of the future so disempowered your ability to stay in the present and pursue the things that need to be done today?  Share with others.  You will be surprised to know that you are not alone in your struggle.

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