On the evening of the first Easter the disciples huddled in a closed room and bolted the door to keep out the world. The were afraid of those on the outside, so they used locks to protect those on the inside.
Today we Christians, out of fear, hide behind the doors, walls, choir robes and Sunday school literature of our churches. We preach, praise, sing and pray, but we are still afraid.
Just what is it that frightens us?
We are afraid of losing the approval of the leaders of our church. We fear openly opposing the sins of some of the influential people who attend regularly and contribute generously. We don’t want to face the possibility that some of our deacons or teachers or singers might leave and start attending another church.
We fear the opinions of other Christians. We don’t want to do anything that might cause our friends in the church to think we are going overboard in our loyalty to Jesus. We don’t want to introduce or join a ministry that might upset those who make our small groups so enjoyable. Sometimes we fear the disapproval of other Christians more than the criticism of a lost world.
We fear dedicating ourselves to any ministry that might interfere with the time we have available for family and friends. Giving up our independence so we can serve others is frightening.
We fear new ideas about how to worship. New songs and musical styles call for change and change is intimidating. We are not sure just what might ultimately develop if we leave our comfort zone.
So we close and lock our attitudes, just as the disciples locked the upper room. We live in fear of anything that might challenge us to examine ourselves and our relationship to God. Jesus said “God is the one you must fear…” (Luke 12:5) He also said “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works…” (Matthew 5:16). We must not let our fear dim our light!