Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 27 of Lent :: Overcoming Fear

“Nicodemus came to Jesus by night.”
John 3:2

“Nicodemus admired Jesus but was afraid to lose the respect of his own colleagues,” writes Nouwen in his book, The Road to Daybreak. He adds the following reflection from his own life:

"I am becoming more and more aware of the importance of looking at these fearful sympathizers because that is the group I find myself mostly gravitating toward. I love Jesus but want to hold on to my own friends even when they do not lead me closer to Jesus. I love Jesus but want to hold on to my own independence even when that independence brings me no real freedom…I love Jesus but do not want to give up my writing plans, travel plans, and speaking plans, even when these plans are often more to my glory than to the glory of God."*

So I am like Nicodemus, who came by night, said safe things about Jesus to his colleagues, and expressed his guilt by bringing to the grave more myrrh and aloes (John 19:39) than needed or desired.

Prayer: God, help me to evaluate my motivations and actions in the light of Your purposes and not be held sway by the advice of friends and opinion makers. Let me look to You rather than to others for guidance, for in setting that priority I learn to renounce my own will and keep peace with You.

Reflection: Make a list of those things and people who most influence you; for example, friends, family, media, public opinion, and so on. Weed out one of those influences that are most unhealthy. In addition, during this Lent make it a point to stand up for one unpopular, but morally sound, point of view.

*Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey, 147-148.

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