By guest writer, Katie Pearson
“They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.’ But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you discussing on the way?’ But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’” - Mark 9:30-35
Imagine how the disciples felt when Jesus told them he would soon be killed. They were so afraid that this passage tells us that they didn’t even ask him to explain what he meant. How in the world would they carry on without their master and leader?
Have there been times in your life, or perhaps leadership, when you felt you had to go it alone? I find myself in this place often in different seasons of my ministry work. When income dips or a crisis comes my way, I get busier and start doing more, without praying first and planning with God. Like the disciples who started positioning for the best place in the kingdom, I resort to focusing on security, not leaning into my faith.
Like the disciples, we have all been placed in roles with opportunities for godly influence. What is your default behavior when you can’t see or feel Jesus leading you? In other words, what are your control tactics when you feel anxious? Three favorites are performance, pleasing and perfectionism. We tend to gravitate toward one, and it can slip in like a shadow before we are even aware of its presence.
In the Old Testament, when Moses died, God chose Moses’ protege, Joshua, to take over. Despite his long apprenticeship under Moses, we read that Joshua was pretty nervous about his new responsibilities. Who wouldn’t be? In Joshua 1, God tells him three times to be strong and courageous. Joshua was a capable, anointed leader, but he wasn’t above the normal experience of feeling shaky and uncertain.
So, what can we do whenever fear and anxiety threaten to cut in on our life and leadership? First, stay the course no matter how you feel. Fear isn’t a fact; it’s simply an emotion to work through with God’s help. Also, remember that feeling anxious doesn’t disqualify you from being a disciple of Jesus, or even a kingdom leader. God often places us in uncertain situations to develop our faith and keep us dependent. Finally, remember that just as God promised Joshua he would never leave him nor forsake him (Joshua 1:5), he is going to finish the race with you, too. Paul, a hero in the courage club, writes:
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39
Wherever you find yourself today, however hesitant, anxious, or even paralyzed, God is inviting you to step over your fears into freedom and victory! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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