Fear can be an evil dictator, a ruthless warden of the mind, and a steel chain of bondage. It forces many to do the unthinkable… forcing a servant to bury his master’s silver in the backyard. Making Peter swing his sword and cut off Malchus’ ear. Driving Abraham to father an illegitimate son. Convincing Jonah to buy a ticket and get into a boat. Whispering murder and cover up to Moses.
Exodus 3 & 4 records the call of Moses at the burning bush. It was in this discourse, Moses reveals three fears that plague us all:
1. Fear of Inadequacy (3:11, 4:10) – Insecurity says, “I don’t have what it takes.”
2. Fear of Rejection (3:13) – “What if they ask questions?”
3. Fear of Failure (4:1) – “What if they don’t listen?”
Up until this point, I’ve always thought of these as Moses’ excuses, but admit that I was way off the mark. These aren’t excuses, they are genuine fears. Legitimate, in fact; all three of them ended up coming to pass. Have you ever face any of these fears? I’ve faced all of them at one time or another (and sometimes, I’m dealing with more than one at a time!). That’s where 2 Timothy 1:7 comes into play:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Did you catch that!?! Let me break it down for you… The attitude that leads us to become cowardly is NOT from God. He has given us: His dynamite power to overcome anything, enough love to share with everyone, and His promises for a healthy perspective.
You can fear less because…
God’s POWER is sufficient to overcome feelings of insecurity and self-doubt
When I’m overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy, I often hit ‘rock bottom’ in my realization of my own weakness. It is in that place of scarcity that I look up and see God for who He is. It’s then when I’m taught how to trust – to walk by faith and not by sight. I remember, 18 months ago, in a church in San Diego, when that truth came more alive than its ever been (see 2 Corinthians 1:8-10). I dropped to my knees and wept, knowing that I couldn’t do it without Him. Now I live in the middle of Isaiah 41:13 and Hebrews 13:5-6!
The LOVE that God gives is enough to overcome our fear of rejection
Jesus, the perfect Son of God, came to earth and was rejected (John 1:11). If Heaven’s prize didn’t always get a warm welcome, then we must assume that we won’t be able to be like / loved by everyone, all the time, too. But that doesn’t take any of the sting off, does it? We still want to impress. We still project SFB (slick, fine, beautiful). The only thing that will release you from the ‘people-trap’ is being full of the love of God. Let God fill you with so much love that you are no longer concerned with how much you are loved, but with how much you can love others (Hosea 1:2, 3:1).
True love drives out fear (1 John 4:18)
A HEALTHY PERSPECTIVE is absolutely vital to overcome our fear of failure
We are so programmed to the culture’s view of success and failure that we lose sight of what really matters. A ‘sound mind’ is an eternal worldview; it’s a perspective built on a biblical framework. It allows the promises and truths of God to be foundational and mold daily life. I love it that God gently reminded Moses by having his face his fears with two examples (picking up a snake / placing his leprous hand in his robe). God taught Moses that His word is ultimate and that He should be feared above all else.
As we grow in this pattern, then we begin to understand about success and failure. Success is pleasing God – not reaching ‘your number’ before retirement. Success is passing a heritage of godliness to your children, not just handing them a 6-figure inheritance. Having said that, failure needs redefined by the Book too. Failure is not making a mistake. A failure is an opportunity to learn (Scientists don’t fail, they experiment!). When it comes to failure, here are my goals (borrowed from Jon Acuff & others):
– If I’m going to fail, I’m going to ‘fail forward’ (If I fail doing something that matters, then it’s not a failure. If I set my goals high, I will not always reach them, but I will achieve more than if I hadn’t set them at all.)
– If I’m going to fail, I’m not going to let that stop me (Failure is quitting, staying down, not getting back up.)
– I should fear this: Succeeding at what doesn’t matter! (The worst kind of failure is when I get good at something that has no real significance. It is when I am exalted at a position that has no bearing on eternity.)
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