So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself (Genesis 3:10).
One of the results of the fall is a fear of relationships. In their sinless state, Adam and Eve were love dominated and fear free. The first result of the fall was hiding. They hid from one another, and they hid from God. Innocence turned to shame. Faith turned to fear. Trust turned to suspicion.
This fear of relationships and the resultant hiding still rules sinful man. And those who come to Christ must renew their minds to the love of God or this tendency to hide will still dominate their relationships.
My late friend Jack Frost would put it this way: When Adam sinned, he put a roof up and walls around himself to keep God and others out. Most people live with the roof up to keep God out, and the walls up to keep others out. Jesus came to demolish the roof and give us unlimited access to the Father in unbroken, intimate fellowship. We’ve been given the invitation to come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace for every need.
Jesus also came to take down the walls that separate us from one another. Jesus prayed for the church in John 17 that we would become one with each other just as He and the Father are one.
Most people hide. Fear rules them and keeps them isolated from others. The only way to overcome this ingrained fear of close relationships is to open up and fully accept the love the Father has for you. God created us to be nurtured from childhood in an atmosphere of unconditional love create by two loving parents who walk closely with the Father. The parents receive the love that the Father has for them, the parents love each other, and the then the parents model this unconditional, self-sacrificial love to their children. That’s the way God intended for us to grow. Sin ruined God’s plan and stunted our growth, keeping parents from the unconditional love that should be demonstrated to their children. As a result, our homes are broken and fear filled.
In Christ we learn that the Father loves us with an unconditional, self-sacrificial love. This love is not based on our human performance, but on Him and His character. Fear has taught us to hide from others until we work to earn their approval. As we mature in Christ, we learn that the Father loves us, period. We can’t earn His love. His love for us is free. And He loves us when we perform well and also when we miserably fail. He doesn’t reject us when we sin, but has made a way of escape from its penalty of condemnation and fear. Our lawyer Jesus serves as our defense attorney when we sin and as we confess our sins, He pleads our case before the Father, cleanses us from sin, and restores our intimate fellowship with the Father. Our misdeeds are erased, never to be seen by the Father or others. This gives boldness to no longer hide but freely expose ourselves to God and to others.
If you know that you’re freely loved and freely forgiven by the Father, there is no reason to hide. There is no fear in love. If you still hide from others, the reality of the love that the Father has for you has not yet penetrated your spirit and my mind. When being loved unconditionally by the Father becomes a settled fact within you, fear loses its grip and you are free to come out of hiding.
Knowing you’re loved by the Father creates an atmosphere in your life of openness, honesty, and realness. Hiding ceases. Exposure to others is no longer scary. You’ve found the safe place called love. That safe place enables closeness with God and closeness with others.
Perhaps you’re still caught in the clutches of the fear of relationship and the walls are up and the roof is on in your life. Ask the Father to reveal His unconditional, self-sacrificial love to you. Get alone with your Father and pour your heart out to Him in sincerity. He will love you, forgive you, restore you, and brush your fears away. You will find Him to be sincere and tender, honest and real. And in this place of intimacy with Himself, the Father will help you take down the walls that isolate you from others. Start the journey to personal freedom today!