My heart pounded as I turned to page 11 and begged God for Jim’s soul. The Lord had used this manual, Beginning In Grace, mightily in the lives of so many men just like Jim. I wrote it years ago and each time I finished Lesson 1, How to Have a Relationship With God, I would turn to page 11 and say, “The Bible teaches that you can have a relationship with God by believing in Jesus Christ His Son. You have read these verses yourself, we’ve talked about God’s love for you, Christ’s death on the Cross as payment for your sin, and your need to believe in Him as your Savior.”
Then I would look at the man sitting across the table and ask, “Have you believed in Jesus?”
I always marveled that God would use me, and this little book to persuade men of their need for a Savior. Sometimes the men I met with needed help understanding the free gift of eternal life, but page 11 was the point in our time together each would put their trust in Jesus.
Until today. This would be the fourth Tuesday in a row that I had brought Jim to page 11. As he stood at the threshold of heaven and hell, of abundant life and the misery of life apart from God, of forgiveness and guilt, he couldn’t bring himself to turn to God.
“I’m just not ready yet,” he would tell me.
I looked him in the eye and asked, “Jim, will you believe in Jesus?”
His answer broke my heart, “I can’t. I’m afraid.”
That’s the way it is with love. Someone can love you more than you will ever even know—as Jesus loves you—enough to die on the Cross in your place. But if you are afraid of this love, you will never trust enough to experience it.
It’s not only non-Christians that struggle with fear of Jesus’ love. Every honest believer reading these words knows that most of our resistance to the commands of Jesus has to do with fear. “What if I do what He says? What if I take this step of faith? Will He care for me as well as I can care for myself?
Every relationship of life either deepens with trust or diminishes with fear. Intimacy between Jesus and His people, husband and wife, parent and child, or friend and friend—all depend on fearless love.
Tragically, Jim never made it past page 11. I may never know what caused his fear of trusting Christ. But I pray for him because I know Jesus wants him to accept His love. .
Have you made it past page 11 with Jesus? Have you trusted His love enough to receive eternal life? Have you believed in Jesus as your Savior?
What other “page 11” fears are causing you to withdraw from intimacy with God and others right now?
Friend, you will never know the joy of intimacy with Christ and others until you find the courage to risk receiving love. Or better yet, until you ask the Lord Jesus for the courage to trust Him and others more.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).