Defeat: The Fear of Failure

Defeat: The Fear of Failure

Joshua 1:1-9

Many of us have at one time or another experienced atychiphobia – the fear of failure. It is a harsh taskmaster, leading its victims to a life of restraint and retreat. It paralyzes us with the “r word”: risk.

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
– Exodus 3:11 (NIV)

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 
– Judges 6:15

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 
– Jeremiah 1:6 (NIV)

God is that answer to all fears and He is the answer to our fear of failure. In our two parts of “Defeat: The Fear of failure”, this morning and tonight, we’ll explore six powerful principles from Joshua to send us forth as a conqueror rather than a hostage to our own fear of failure.

1.    The principle of divine perspective

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
– Joshua 1:5 (NIV)

God is able “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”
– Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

Let us not focus on the size of the job, but the size of God. Then the job will look a good bit smaller and our fear will decrease.

2.    The principle of divine purpose

… get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
– Joshua 1:2-3 (NIV)

The more you fix your eyes on God’s purpose(s) for you, the more you will overcome fear.

3.    The principle of divine persuasion

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
– Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Be strong and courageous…Be strong and very courageous…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
– Joshua 1:6a,7a,9a (NIV)

If God is for us, who can be against us?
– Romans 8:31 (NIV)

When God enables us to be firm and courageous, when He helps us to be willing to take risks for Him, fear has to step aside.

4.    The principle of divine priority

… do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
– Joshua 1:7-8 (NIV)

  a.  Talk about the Word constantly

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips…
– Joshua 1:8a (NIV)

  b.     Meditate on the Word continually

...meditate on it day and night…
– Joshua 1:8a (NIV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
– Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

  c.     Read the Word obediently

…so that you may be careful to do everything written in it…
– Joshua 1:8b (NIV)

“…that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it…
– Joshua 1:8b (NKJV)

…be doers of the word, and not hearers only…
– James 1:22 (NKJV)

  d.     Follow the Word exclusively

…do not turn from it to the right or to the left…
– Joshua 1:7b (NIV)

  e.     Accept the Word totally

...everything written in it…
– Joshua 1:8b (NIV)

Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.
– Joshua 23:6 (NIV)

Scripture needs to be our weapon of choice in the fight against the fear of defeat. God’s truth brings freedom, which includes freedom from fear.

As we rehearse how God has aided us and others to be successful in the past – as we center in on God’s purposes for our lives – as we ask God for His courage – and as we give priority to God’s Word – the fear of failure will be dispelled.