Sky-diving has to be the most dangerous sport imaginable. When asked why anyone would want to jump out of an aeroplane to test the imperfection of a parachute, the diver gave an intriguing explanation. He found himself afraid in so many of life's normal experiences that he determined to push himself into a truly fearful situation. This might make him handle everyday life a little easier. A good dose of sky-diving makes normal life seem very tame.

Fearful thinking, yes, here is something we can all identify with. A family trait maybe, learnt or acquired. Irrational fear is actually a defective thinking pattern. Nothing defective if we are racked with fear when the breaks fail, but there is something wrong if we are afraid of the telephone. A person with this trait can't face conflicts. Such a person either avoids conflict or pretends it's not there. So, in the face of the consuming world, the fearful thinker builds barriers and takes on a defensive mode. They hide before its crudity and so are ineffective, even debilitated in the face of the battle. You see, fear debilitates.

Afraid of what? We should always ask, "what can happen to me in this situation?" Why is it that we are often afraid in a situation where we can't actually get hurt, or at least, the chances are very small? Often, it has to do with the real self. Maybe we don't like ourselves and are afraid that in conflict or contact with others, the real self may be exposed. Maybe we are not confident in ourselves, our identity has been violated too many times, so with the approach of the enemy or the unfamiliar, we are overcome by fear. Mind you, we may know, only too well, our limitations and so fear what we know we can't handle.

The psalmist says "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" The fearful thinker may never overcome the negative training of a lifetime, but they can begin to absorb the positive input of the Spirit of God. Jesus loves us the way we are, we have nothing to be ashamed of. He thinks we are wonderful, he loves us completely, without reservation. Our identity is safe in his hands. We have nothing to fear.