Sometimes fear is good but more often, fear can be a negative. It can stop you from moving forward. Fear fills your mind with “what if”. What if I’m wrong? What if I fail? Most of us have tasted the bitter pill of failure. No one likes to fail. Many of us find ourselves afraid to step out and do things that we really want to do because we are afraid we might fail. This week’s message unpacks what God says about failure so that we can have the courage and the faith to step out into the unknown and live with less regrets and more faith.
Bottom line: Focus on what happens in you, over what happens to you.
Something To Talk About:
Everybody fears failure. But every time God says fear not, He couples it with the greatest promise in the scripture: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you….” (Isaiah 41:10) Consider the following truths when dealing with the fear of failure:
- You will fail: The starting point to overcoming the fear of failure is to realize that it is a universal experience. Everybody fails. James is very specific about this. He says, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes…” (James 3:2) You’re a superstar in baseball if you only make an out 700 times out of a thousand at bats. If you’re a professional basketball player, you’re at the top of the game if you miss 50 percent of your shots. Nobody is perfect. You can’t get away from that principle in Scripture. Some of the greatest heroes in the Bible failed. Moses was a murderer. David committed adultery with Bethsheba, and then murdered her husband to hide his failing. Peter denied Jesus three times. And the list could go on and on. Everyone fails. Romans 3:23 reminds us that “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Failure is universal. That’s why we all need God’s grace.
- You can overcome: Failure does not have to be final. “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.”( Proverbs 24:16) While everybody fails, many people people who failed get back up and keep going. Focus on God, not on your fears. Move ahead with determination. Many worthwhile achievements involve taking some risks. The Bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7).The apostle John makes this claim: “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18). No matter how much we avoid risk and give in to fear, nothing can change what God is doing and what He will do when heaven comes to earth.
- You must take faith risks: Fear contradicts faith. Every Christian’s life is marked by windows of opportunity that demand that you take a radical step of faith in order to follow Christ and fulfill His purposes for your life. And what makes that step radical is that it can involve significant risk. There are times where God will bring an opportunity and it may be in your marriage, it may be in your career, it may be with regard to your finances, it may be in regard to a relationship, and He’s going to say, “In order to obey me, in order to follow me, in order to do exactly what I want you to do, this is what you need to do in this situation.” And suddenly we have this sinking feeling, this fear of stepping into the unfamiliar. We worry that we could experience a major fail. But where there is no risk, there is no faith. And where there is no faith, there is no power. Faith always means risk. Everything in life is a risk. Ecclesiastes 10:8 says, “When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you! When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax! Such are the risks of life” (NLT). There’s nothing we can do that doesn’t have some element of risk in it because that is what faith is.
- What has been your experience with failure in life?
- Can fear of failure be paralyzing and motivating? Why or why not?
- 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?
- Knowing God and His Word allows us to face our fears with faith. Why? How can you do this in practical ways?
- Take a minute to list a few scriptures you can think on when you begin to feel fear creeping in. What are practical ways we can trust God with our future?
- What step do you need to take this week to deal with your fears? How can this group help you in this journey?
Take One Thing Home with You:
When we seek to be more like Jesus, He promises to help us. God has a message for us just as He did for Joshua: “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). God tells us to “not be afraid.” We see that He said this directly to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Peter, Paul, John and others. God asks us to trust Him whatever circumstances we face. When we strive to please God and trust in Him, we can also be bold in our actions.