Summary: Part 2 of the series, Facing Your Fears.
Today’s sermon is Facing Your Fear of Failure. Some of you are probably thinking, “I don’t need to hear this.” But it doesn’t matter how successful you are, there are some areas of your life that you are scared to death to fail at.
The fear of failure is a common fear. People fear…
• Failing as a parent
• Failing in their careers
• Failing as a Christian
4 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Failure:
1. Remember that everyone fails.
A recent study showed that the failure rate of human beings is 100%. Nobody’s perfect.
Moses failed (Exodus 2:11-15).
We all stumble in many ways (James 3:2).
Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again (Pr. 24:16).
The Bible is not reluctant to tell us about the failures of its heroes. That’s the difference between the stories of the Bible and many Christian biographies. Many biographies of well-known Christians don’t tell us about the person’s failures. You might get the impression that they never struggled.
Babe Ruth was once baseball’s all-time home run king. But did you know that he was also the all-time strikeout champion. He struck out almost twice as often as he hit home runs. He knew that he had to risk striking out in order to hit those home runs. When asked for the secret of his success, Ruth replied, “I just keep on swingin’ at ‘em!” (Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook: 2003 Edition, p. 385).
2. Realize that failure is not final.
Moses once was a prince; now he’s a shepherd. He once was famous; now he’s forgotten. His life once was full of promise; now his life seems destined to end in failure. But Moses’ failure was not final (Exodus 3:1-10).
Try to identify the historical figure from the following brief paragraph: When I was seven years old, my family was forced out of our home because of a legal technicality. I had to work to help support my family. At age nine, while still a backwards, shy little boy, my mother died. At age 22, I lost my job as a store clerk. I wanted to go to law school but my education wasn’t good enough. At 23, I went into debt to become a partner in a small store. Three years later my partner died leaving me a huge debt, which took years to repay. At 28, after developing romantic relations with a young lady for four years, I asked her to marry me. She said no. At 37, on my third try, I was finally elected to the United States Congress. Two years later, I ran again and failed to be re-elected. I had a nervous breakdown at that time. At 41, adding additional heartache to an already unhappy marriage, my four-year-old son died. The next year I ran for Land Officer and lost. At 45, I ran for the Senate and lost. A few years later, I ran for the Vice Presidency and lost. At 49, I ran for the Senate again and lost. And at 51, I was elected President of the United States. Who am I? My name is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s life was one continuous failure. But he kept on going and became probably the greatest President in American history. He realized that failure is not final.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.—Thomas Edison
3. Recognize the benefits of failure.
Moses may not have been chose to be Israel’s deliverer if he had never failed.
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). All things includes failures. That doesn’t mean that our failures are good. But God can take our failures and bring something good out of them.
• Failure educates us.
Thomas Edison said that he had 10,000 failures before he learned the right filament for the light bulb. He said he didn’t call it a failure; he called it an education. “I know 10,000 things that don’t work.” There are some lessons that we can learn only through failure.
• Failure makes us less judgmental.
4. Replace your fear with faith in God.
Moses offered many excuses, but God had an answer for them all (3:11-15; 4:1-17).
Moses’ excuse: I’m nobody. “Who am I?” (v. 11).
God’s answer: It doesn’t matter who you are! “I will be with you” (v. 12). Don’t think, “Who am I?” Remember that God says, “I will be with you.”
Moses’ excuse: I’m not smart enough. (I don’t even know your name!) “What shall I tell them?” (v. 13).
God’s answer: “I AM WHO I AM” (v. 14). Yahweh (also translated Jehovah) is derived from the Hebrews word for “I am.” God is emphasizing His unchanging nature. The same God who helped Moses’ ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would help him.