The greatest way to live is to fight and overcome your fear.  The opposite of this is true too.  The worst way to live is to allow fear to determine how you live.  Today I want to talk about fear, failure and everyone’s struggle with the fear of failure.

Real fast, let’s talk about fear, there is good fear and bad fear.  I don’t want to play soccer on Rt 15 or the Turnpike.  Why?  I would be afraid that I would be hit by a car.  That’s God given fear to help you be aware of danger.  Bad fear is different.  Bad fear shows up in your life when you take normal concern and you take way too far.   Example: If you have kids going to college, it’s normal and healthy to be concerned about paying for college.  However, if I allow that concern to create fear, anxiety and dread in my life today; if I feel that emotion and it drains my energy today, I have allowed fear to control me.  That is the worst part about bad fear.  Because we can be focused on what could go wrong in the future – maybe, I can’t enjoy today.  Bad fear is a thief, it steals your joy, your energy of today and leaves you in a self-made prison where you feel stuck.  You struggle to make decisions.

That’s why Jesus said, Don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.  MSG  Matthew 6:34

Jesus didn’t say don’t prepare for tomorrow, He said, don’t allow bad fear to ruin your joy today.  So what is it that you fear?  What is it that steals your joy today?  What is it that stops you from doing the right things?  Remember, the best way to live is to fight and overcome that fear.

The second thing I want to talk about is failure.  Men and women, in general, handle failure differently.  Men’s identity is wrapped up in what we do and what we accomplish.  Why?  Because we were created to work.  Women’s identity is wrapped up in relationships.  Why?  Because women were created for relationship.  This has a huge implication.  If a man experiences failure in his life, in general, he takes it personally. If a women experiences failure in her life, in general, it’s not personal, she wants to learn from it.  That’s why, for a man to walk through failure, it can be devastating.  They can become inward focused, a victim and stuck in that past.   Guys, here me on this.  We all fail.  Failure is an event, it’s not a person, it doesn’t define you.

I want us to read what King David said to God about his failures.  I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.  You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.  You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair.   I’ve been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born.  What you’re after is truth from the inside out.  Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.   Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life. MSG  Psalms 51:3-7

The third thing I want to talk about is one of the greatest fears that everyone has: the fear of failure.  The great challenge for men to be men is the fear of failure.  Men can feel stuck in this.

#1: We look at what it means to be a man, take our God given strength to protect and to give life to those around us, and that freezes us because we are afraid, if step into that, we will mess it up somehow.  You feel stuck in fear.  You become a weak.  Fear is telling you that you don’t have it to be a man.

Or we do #2: We look at our past, see our failures and conclude, “I have done more to destroy my life than build my life and that failure defines who I am.”  You feel stuck.  Failure is telling you, you are a failure, you can never be free from that identity.

Time Out:  Ladies, does this help you understand your husband or dad or brother better?  We are designed by God to work.  So when we fail, we take it personally.  Doesn’t this explain why guys feel stuck?  We fear failing you or disappointing you.  We can live in that past because we assume that previous failure defines us today.

Guys, the greatest way to live is to face and overcome your fears.  Do not allow fear to tell you that you don’t have it to be a man.  Don’t allow failure to define yow you live.  How do you break out of this?  Remember, being a man is spiritual, not physical.  So what I am about to share with you will have amazing spiritual impact into your life.  Ready?  You repent.  You come to God and say, “I am sorry for what I have done and who I am.  I am sorry for allowing failure and regret to stop me from being who You called me to be.  From this day forward, fear and regret will not define me.  God, You define who I am.”

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God…  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us… God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  NIV  2 Corinthians 5:17-21

You repent.  You come to God and say, “I am sorry for allowing fear and failure to determine how I live.  Please forgive me.  Please break the power of fear in my life.  Please break the power of failure in my life.  God, fill me with the Holy Spirit.”

Please hear me guys.  Men touched by God, don’t live in fear.  Men touched by God, don’t allow failure to determine who they are.

When you repent, you’re a new creation.  You are an ambassador.  You are the righteousness of God.  And by the way, all of that is from God.  You did nothing, absolutely NOTHING to deserve it.

One last thought to those guys like me who grew up in church.  We can make a big mistake if we aren’t careful.  We hear the word ‘repent’ and we think, ‘I did that, 30 years ago I remember that moment.’  Hear me guys; repentance isn’t a one day event.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s coming to God consistently and asking Him to define you, love you and break the power of fear and failure in your life.  You do that over a month, five years, thirty years, you live in freedom.  Church guys, hear me, you need God today as badly as you needed Him day one.