I’m not talking about “not caring” like in nihilism, which is the belief that nothing really matters and there’s no meaning to life. Rather, I’m talking about “not caring” in the Christian sense where you die to fear (Matthew 10:28), you die to people’s opinion of you (Galatians 1:10), and you even die to yourself (Luke 9:23).
In that sense, a man must die to the fear of failure. Only when you stop caring about failing will you begin to succeed as a man. The most powerful men who are truly living their life for God are the men who have learned to risk failure rather than dying in safety.
Why is it so important that a Christian man dies to his fear of failure? Here are 3 reasons.
1. A Fear of Failure Is Usually Connected to a Works-Based Theology, and a Works-Based Theology Is Not a Part of the True Gospel
Everything we do can be traced back to our deepest beliefs. Fear is the hallmark of a man who does not understand God’s grace. When you believe that you are made right with God through your own efforts, you will always be afraid of everything because you will know you are always one step away from angering God.
But when you exchange a works-based theology for a grace-based theology, you realize that Jesus has done what we cannot do so that we can live in fellowship with God through Jesus’ righteousness, which means we never have to fear the wrath of God again (Romans 8:1). As Paul explained in Galatians 2:19-20 (NLT), which states:
For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
None of this means we must become careless to sin. On the contrary, because the life of Christ is now in me, I now don’t have to fear failing to my old sinful nature anymore. Now I can know that the new nature of Jesus is in me. Even when I fail and sin, God’s grace remains (Romans 5:20), which means I can always repent of sin and continue to be sanctified more and more through his grace (Romans 6:1-4).
I can be dead to failure because I am forever alive to God through Jesus Christ who has already secured my victory (Romans 6:11-12, 19).
2. A Man Must Die to His Fear of Failure Because If You Never Fail You Will Never Grow
Just like physical health where growth can only come through working hard, you will never grow as a man unless you work hard at becoming a man (2 Peter 1:10).
When it comes to working out, research consistently shows that it doesn’t matter that much what exercise you do so long as you do that exercise to the point of failure. Your biceps will grow if you do chin-ups to failure or curls to failure, but they won’t grow if you don’t exercise them to failure.
This is true in life as well. If you never push yourself past what you can already handle, you will never grow. I’m not saying you should push yourself into sin. I’m simply talking about growing in your character as a man. As Paul said:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
3. A Man Must Die to His Fear of Failure Because Other People Will Be Able to Manipulate Him If He Doesn’t
When you’re alive to the fear of failure, you can be controlled by that fear. Manipulative people will know what strings to pull to get you to do what they want. The only way to not get pulled around like a puppet is to cut the cords of fear attached to failure. Notice the connection between Peter’s failure and Peter’s fear:
But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.” (Galatians 2:11-12)
They manipulated Peter to forsake the freedom in the gospel because he was still afraid of the religious leaders, and those religious leaders used that fear in him to control him.
A godly man must not be controlled by other people; therefore, he must not fear other people because they will control him through fear. He must first be in submission to God, only obeying others when it aligns with God’s word (Acts 5:29, Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
The most powerful men are those who don’t fear other men. Psalm 118:6, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
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