How to Tackle Unproductive Fears the Biblical Way

How to Tackle Unproductive Fears the Biblical Way

Time management isn’t just about avoiding time wasters. It’s also about zealously investing your time into what matters.

It’s about taking on the fruitful but scary projects, doing the hard work, and pouring your life out for the glory of God.

You may feel a call, a passion, a ripe opportunity to dive into something – but there’s the fear. The fear that you can’t handle it. The fear that you’re inadequate. The fear that you’re a nobody.

The surest way to waste your time is to give in to this fear. We need to fight it, but how do we do that?

Seeing Your Inadequacy Is Good

First off, it’s okay to feel inadequate. The scriptures and the history of the church are full of people who felt that way.

In fact, a biblical view of humility says that feeling inadequate is a good thing. Christ said that “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Don’t Focus on Your Shortcomings

But staying here isn’t productive.

Keeping our eyes on our own inadequacies leads us to a life of procrastination and timidly going through the motions. Focusing on our fears and our shortcomings is a recipe for a wasted life.

The Self Esteem Answer

So what’s the solution?

At this point, many advocate self esteem.

Many tell you to believe in yourself. Never give up. Keep your dream in focus. You can do it.

This is often combined with self-discipline. We’re told to wake up early and stay up late. Hustle. Strive and fight.

And we’re told to do all this because deep down, we’re tough. Deep down, we’re strong.

In short, when the voices in our heads tell us we’re inadequate, we’re supposed to label that as a lie.

The Biblical Answer

Yet the biblical model is different.

When Moses was called to confront Pharaoh, Moses replied, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

God’s reply wasn’t “You can do it, Moses! Believe in yourself! Deep down, you’re a strong person!”

No. God’s reply was, “But I will be with you.”

When Gideon was called to lead the Israelite army against the Midianites, Gideon asked, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

Again, God’s reply wasn’t to bolster Gideon’s self esteem. God’s response was “But I will be with you.”

Through His Power

God’s answer to our inadequacy is not to raise our opinions of ourselves. He don’t yell “Liar!” when our inner critic says that we’re not up to the task.

The biblical response to our fears is to take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on God.

Our inadequacies are real. In fact, we probably overestimate our own capabilities. But they don’t matter.

Our inadequacies are no match for God.

The Trap

Boosting self esteem seems at first like a plausible solution because the results often appear from an external perspective to be fruitful.

Self esteem can temporarily make it look like worthwhile things are happening.

But self is being glorified, not God. And eventually the house of cards will come crashing down.

Have you ever been tempted to escape your fears by bolstering your self esteem and self sufficiency?

Note: This post was heavily inspired from David Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s Studies in the Sermon on the Mount and John Piper’s sermon, Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit Who Mourn. Check them out for some wonderful edification.

Photo Credit: Capture Queen (Creative Commons)

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