Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

IIId. Making Wise Decisions: Wrong Approach #4

Wrong Approach #4: Fearful Approach

Previously I have mentioned that we are just plain stubborn at times. Well, sometimes we are just plain afraid. I want to talk about two of the fears that many people experience when trying to make a decision.

Fear of the Future.
Sometimes we try to imagine every possible outcome of a certain decision. Thinking ahead is actually a good thing, but it can be overdone. Some have called this the “paralysis of analysis.” We have a tendency to want too much information from God about the future.

Fear of Failure.
Sometimes we are so afraid of failing that we will not take risks. We are afraid that our efforts will not succeed or that we will be rejected. This fear can be absolutely paralyzing.

What Does God Say About This Approach? The Bible commands us to live by faith, not fear.

We should not fear the future because God will be with us!

Lets consider God’s commandment to Joshua. Joshua was given the task of leading God’s people after the death of Moses. Here’s what God said:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

–Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

God never promised that everything would be easy, but he did promise that He would be with Joshua. He repeats the command to “be courageous” three times in this chapter. In the same way, Jesus promises that “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Whatever challenge awaits us, we can be sure that God will be there with us.

We should not fear failure because God does not require “success.” God requires obedience and faithfulness, not success!

I will give you an example from Matthew 10. Jesus sent out His disciples to preach. He gave them specific instructions for those who would not receive the message:

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.
–Matthew 10:14 (NIV)

Jesus told them that they would not be 100% “successful”–some would reject the message. Their task was to faithfully proclaim the message and leave the results up to God.

The same principle applies to our lives. If we are obedient and faithful, then we are “successful” in God’s eyes. This truth has set me free! All I have to do is obey and leave the results up to God. If something does not work then at least I know that I have tried.

Live by faith, not by fear!

We live by faith, not by sight.
–2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

My next sermon on this topic will be on Sunday December 10th, 2:00 p.m. at Convergence Fellowship. We worship at the Joshua Center (6th floor) which is located on Taft Ave (across from PGH). I’ll post more articles on this specific topic after I’ve preached on the 10th.


  1. Do you think fear can be used by God sometimes? Like when we want to do something we know is not right, we become fearful inside, guilty too. Isn’t that from God? It makes us step back and analyze things and because deep in our hearts, it is not the right thing to do, we turn our backs and forget all about it.

  2. “We should not fear failure because God does not require “success.” God requires obedience and faithfulness, not success!”

    This is a good reminder for me. In between writing my paper, I have been frequenting your site reading your blogs, commenting too. I cant go on for fear that my outputs won’t measure up to my profs.. well I’ve been doing my best on this for months now. Sigh. I guess even if its not perfect in their eyes (well I don’t even know that yet) I will go ahead and submit it. Just delaying the agony here imagining the red marks and the corrections.. its humility and learning altogether.

  3. Yup, this too.

    The same principle applies to our lives. If we are obedient and faithful, then we are “successful” in God’s eyes.

    My stomach churns at the thought of handing my prof my paper, but I must!

  4. Re: fear coming from God.

    Well, the Bible mentions the “fear of the Lord,” which is a reverence of Him and the fact that He will judge our lives.

    Just last night I preached on 1 Tim 1:18-20. I talked about our conscience being our “alarm system” that helps alert us when something is wrong.

    Fear of God and listening to our consciences are good things.

    In this particular post/article I’m talking about the fear that comes from not trusting God–being afraid to take risks that God wants us to take, etc.

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