- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2006

The following are excerpts from a sermon preached yesterday by pastor Bill Craig at Summit Trace Church.

There was a warrior of God who had a run in with failure. His name was Gideon.

“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine press to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’” (Judges 6:11-12)

Gideon didn’t feel like a warrior. But the cool thing is that God sees us for what we will become, not what we are now. Jesus reveals this truth time after time again. God saw the potential in Gideon. Gideon didn’t think he was a warrior, but God could see it in him.

Track with this first point. Every warrior encounters the “f” words — “fear of failure.” Now the warrior in the back of his mind and the depths of his heart knows God has created him for victory. But catch this: The moment we draw our sword, the evil hurls into our mind — “You call yourself a warrior. You’re not brave, what if you don’t have what it takes? What if you fail?”

Look, this isn’t something new. Throughout the Bible, the first thing God tells those he’s calling out for battle is “fear not, I’m with you.”

All warriors will fail and fear failing. So it’s no surprise Gideon says, “I don’t fit the mold of being a warrior.” Gideon sees himself in the now, but God sees what he’s going to be later.

I don’t know how you’re hit by this. Maybe you want to invite someone to church, but doubt hits. And you think, “What if I say something inappropriate?” You want to start a business or ministry, and you hear the voice say you aren’t good enough. Maybe you want to know a special someone, but you fear rejection; teach a discovery group, but you doubt you have the skill. Men, you know you should be the spiritual leader, but you think, “My children, my wife knows more than me.”

Every warrior believes he was created for victory, but that fear of failure hits us. So today we are going to discover the first step to overcome a fear of failure. It is that the warrior is going to fall to success.

It is a part of God’s divine plan. He can teach us so much through our failures. Look at this — “though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” (Proverbs 24:16)

Every time, Gideon begins to fear failure. Every time Gideon is challenged by cowardice, God says, “I will use you.”

Gideon tells God that he doesn’t have a big enough army. He didn’t believe 32,000 was enough to defeat the Midians. God is teaching him that he can do more with a few men believing in God than with a bunch who fear failure. Through that cut and one more, God cut the army from 32,000 to 300. God took away the security blanket from Gideon, so he might depend on the Lord’s faith in him as a warrior. God will strip a warrior of what he thinks is his strength so we will depend on God.

If you’re not failing, there is less for God to work with. On the road to success, you are going to fall. Are you going to fall backwards or fall forwards, like a mule that chose to fall forward?

This old mule fell in a hole. The people decided they couldn’t get it out so they’d just bury him. They started throwing dirt on his back. He didn’t like that so he shook and brushed it off and kick it under him. This continued on and on until the very thing that was meant to bury him was used to build the ground up.

Shake off the failure. Deal with it. Get up.

Have you experienced failure? Remember, you are empowered by God for victory. Turn your temporary failures into what leads you to victory. Your first step to do that is to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and savior of your life. Until you do, you will give in to the fears of failure and never truly know the success found in the forgiveness of your sins and the power through the gift of the Holy Spirit. You are meant to be a mighty warrior for God.

It’s time you discover that today.

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