This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9.
Winston Churchill said that “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” The truth of that statement is demonstrated in so many people: Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Behind every success story is an embarrassing first effort, a stumble, a setback or a radical change of direction. The reality is that it is in our failures where we can often find success in our spiritual life.
The fear of failure can become so pervasive that people stop doing or trying something they might fail at, so they don’t fail. They protect themselves by only doing the things that they consider “safe”, where they know they have no chance of failure. If we attempt to limit our exposure to life, we put ourselves and God in a box. God’s plan is always outside the box.
There will be people around you that tell you that what you are doing is destined for failure. Ignore them and trust God to lead you in life. God teaches us through our failures. Many times we are so paralyzed by fear of failing that we do not step out in faith, believing that God is there beside us. Proverbs 29:25 tells us that the “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” The greatest failure is the failure to try. The trouble with many people is that during trying times they just stop trying. We fail when we don’t have the faith to trust God. For the glory of God, you’ve got to take risks. That’s what brings maturity. That’s what brings success in life. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is. If at first you don’t succeed, you’re normal. Try again.
Revelation 3:8 says, “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.” The Lord is always opening and closing doors if we are following and trusting Him. Failures will come, but we must recognize them for what they are, so the future can open up for us. Recognize the open door God has placed in front of you, and walk through that door. The safest place to be, is where the Lord is leading. So don’t be afraid of failing because God is with us. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 )
- Living in fear keeps us from experiencing our God-given potential. Agree or disagree and why?
- Was there a time when you were fearful of the future and acted out on that fear (i.e., leading to anxiety, etc.)? What happened?