August 23, 2010

Ecclesiophobia

“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (The Message)

Our Bible study lesson yesterday at church was on FEAR and how it is a big tool that Satan uses to distract and destroy a believer’s walk with Christ. It can even keep one from becoming a believer as well. In preparation for the lesson, I thought a lot about fear in my own life and even hit the Internet for a few ideas.

First let me say, I am not talking about the fear that keeps us from trouble, much like we don’t put our hand on a hot stove for fear of getting burned. Nor do I refer to a healthy fear, as in respect or reverence unto God. But that kind of fear that binds, controls, and keeps us from living the abundant life we have in Christ.

We are a phobic country. Germs, spiders, heights, etc… I discovered online at www.phobialis.com that there are a gazillion fears that all have a phobia name. My favorite phobia is ANATIDAEPHOBIA. I bet in a million years you couldn’t guess what the fear behind this is unless you were in class Sunday or you suffer from it. Wanna know what it is? Here we go; it is a fear that somewhere, somehow, some time – a duck is watching you.

Go ahead and laugh. Get it out of your system. Actually, we about rolled on the floor. In fact, the list on-line contained more laughable phobia’s than I thought possible – unless you are the one with the phobia. We did have to agree that while we laughed on this one, the one with the fear does not.

That brings us to my thought from the day. I credit my class’s discussion and God’s grace for it. The thought is this: some people suffer from a fear of church called Ecclesiophobia. Perhaps we better know it by:

1. Church is just a bunch of hypocrites
2. Church is just a bunch of rules and I’m not giving up fun
3. Church will expose my past and people will judge me
4. Church is where I got hurt a long time ago
5. Church only talks about money

Need I go on? Toady, I am not going to address those people who have this fear. I am addressing those of us who are already churched. Why? I came to the conclusion that we, the church body, might be responsible for feeding this fear.

Those of us in church today and loving it - need to make this known to others. We are all sinners. We all have a past. Most of us a sorted past, some more sorted than others. Yet Christ Jesus died for us all regardless of our past. Actually He died for us while we were still in the “middle” of our past. When was the last time we past that truth along to another? When was the last time we appreciate our own church because of this truth? What inventive ways could we come up with to love and encourage others outside the church to see us without fear?
I can think of volumes more to say yet I can think of another thing that I need to say. So I’ll leave you and the Holy Spirit to ponder over this.
But in case, someone reads this that is not familiar with me – please know sweet one that it is Jesus that saves and makes the transformation in your life. He is the life-giver and the fear releaser. Church is just a great place to get together with other released prisoners (or even not so released yet people) to continue to hear the truth and receive love – one to another.

Choose freedom over fear!
Barbara

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