At one time or another we have all thought, “what if I can’t do it?”  “What if I fail?” “Am I making the right decision?” The fear of failure is something everyone struggles with to some degree.  It’s pretty simple why we fear failure, because we know we have failed and probably will again at some point.  While it is true we are all sinful, it is also true that we are all fallible.  We aren’t perfect, we make mistakes.  So how do we deal with this issue?

I don’t know if Joshua in the Bible struggled with this fear, but I do know that in Joshua 1 God challenges and encourages Joshua and the things He shares with Joshua are a great remedy to this fear.  God had been preparing Joshua to take over after Moses’ death for a long time.  It was Joshua who traveled a portion of the way up Mt. Sinai when Moses’ went to meet with God.  It was Joshua who was 1 of the 12 chosen to scope out Canaan, and he was one of only 2 with a good report that would get to see the Promise Land.  He was greatly prepared.  But imagine being Joshua, you are following Moses! One of the greatest leaders in history! One can only imagine the weight he may have felt going from being Moses’ assistant to the leader of God’s people.  So what would God say to him as he launched out to lead the people of God?

[5] “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. [6] Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. [7] Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. [8] This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. [9] Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5-9 ESV)

God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” Based on what?  Based on his experience?  Based on his abilities, talents, and gifts?  No, it was based on one simple fact.  God would be with him. God’s presence would be with Joshua.  God’s power would be with Joshua, hence no man being able to “stand before” him.  God simply asked him to be strong, God was providing the strength and to be courageous and God was giving him the reason.  God only asked that in his new journey he be obedient, specifically in regards to the Law.

We need to redefine failure.  Failure to the world and to God can look very different.  The world desires achievement. God desires obedience.  God is not seeking superstar salesmen, famous preachers, and award-winning doctors.  God is seeking an obedient people, who are confident in God’s abilities more than their own.

Many times I wonder if our fear of failure is actually a sign of over confidence in the flesh or at the very least a lack of faith and focus on God.  We must get our eyes off of ourselves and set them on the one who is “with us” and “will not forsake” us.  How could you not want to obey a God like that?  He is worthy of our obedience. And when we obey we do not fail.

One thought on “The Fear of Failure

  1. It’s been a while since I stopped by your blog…but I’m glad I did 🙂

    “The world desires achievement. God desires obedience.”

    I think this might be one of my new favorite quotes! Thanks for the great reminder!!

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