Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fear and Ministry

Fear is something that I never thought I struggled with.  I have been reading through “Dangerous Calling” by Paul Tripp (which I recommend for anyone in ministry) and recently read a chapter on fear.  My eyes are now opened, and I see a very fearful man inside.

I have not yet served full time in Romania and I have already felt the weight of ministry.  Getting there: raising up prayer and financial partners is a tiring process.  Tripp says in the book, “There are few things that will reveal to you the full range of your sin, immaturity, weakness, and failure like ministry will.  There are few things that will expose your weakness to others as consistently as ministry does.  There are few endeavors that will put you under public expectancy and scrutiny like ministry does.  There are few things that are as personally humbling as ministry is.  There are few endeavors that have the power to produce in you such deep feelings of inadequacy as ministry does.  There are few things that can be such a vat of self-doubt as ministry is.  In your ministry there is a great temptation to be sidetracked and harmed by the fear of you” (p. 129).   I see this truth so clearly now.  I fear failure because I see my weakness much more clearly now, but my fear is based in the fact that I was placing my hope in myself instead of in my God.

Next, I fear the future.  Tripp points out that, “You always live and minister in the hardship of not knowing.  In both life and ministry you are called to trust and obey and believe that God will guide and provide.  You and I do not know what the next moment will bring, let alone the next month or year.  Security is never found in our attempt to figure it all out or in trying to divine the secret will of God.  His will is called his ‘secret will’ because it is secret!  Yet in all of this, because you are a rational human being, there is a desire to know, to figure out ahead of time.  The more you concentrate on the future, the more you’ll give way to fear of the future..” (p. 134).

Both these fears are built on a lack of the awe of God in my life.  I fear failure at times because I am looking at my own weakness instead of the power and reliability of our God.  When I fear the future I am not trusting that God is in control.  Tripp adds, “Awe of God really is the only way to be free of fear of what is coming next.  When my trust in God is greater than my fear of the unknown, I will be able to rest, even though I don’t have a clue what will greet me around the corner” (p. 134).

Food for thought: Do you have an awe of God that controls the way you live and what you think about?

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