From the Book
In chapter 5, Rob reflects on the times when we face a crisis of insecurity, fear, or self-doubt. He told the story of a mountain climbing experience when he got stuck, doubted himself, and wondered whether he had the strength to take the next move. “Following God’s direction means attempting challenges that can succeed only with God’s help” (p. 85).
Rob gives several suggestions for meeting the challenges of insecurity.
- Be a Face Person – Whenever a difficult situation presents itself, face it head on. “God will routinely put us in a place where we must ask ourselves, ‘What am I relying on most right now, my ability or God’s’” (p. 89).
- Know Thyself – What kind of personality do you have and what kinds of things trip you up? “In knowing yourself, what tends to make you insecure? Think about the last time you felt that way. In that experience, how could you have practiced reliance on the Holy Spirit?” (p. 91)
- Avoid Comparisons – Often, our insecurity drives us to be critical of others. “Comparing ourselves to others is really comparing how we would do in their place. Instead God is calling you to your place” (p. 93).
- Obedience First – When we follow where God wants us to go, God uses us in ways we could never imagine. “Last of all, remember that God calls us to be obedient, not successful” (p. 94). Think about a time when you were paralyzed by fear or self-doubt. What are the tools you used to get through the crisis?
From the DVD
In the DVD, Rob visits Athens and Corinth, scenes from Paul’s ministry described beginning in Acts 17:16. Paul took the story of Christ to the Athenians, but he found himself laughed at by those to whom he preached. Thus his arrival in Corinth, he described years later in his letter to the Corinthians, was full of uncertainty about his abilities. Paul wrote that he came “in weakness with great fear and trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3, NIV). Rob says that even when we follow God’s leading, we might come short. But that “Christ does not call us to be successful. Christ calls us to be obedient. We do all we can so that God can do all we can’t” (DVD). Following Christ means that we must depend on God in both our successes and our failures.
Rob shares Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 to help interpret the story of Paul’s failure in Athens. In this scripture, we see the theme of Paul’s ministry that God works through our weaknesses. “But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:8, NIV). As you lead the congregation in worship this week, be in prayer for those who are struggling with fear, uncertainty, doubt. Are there stories you can share from your own life or from the lives of the faithful that will bring courage and comfort to those people? How do you address the concerns of those who cannot feel God’s presence in the midst of struggles?
God of comfort and strength, we lay before you our insecurities, fears, and self-doubts. We have done our best and still we find ourselves coming short of where we thought we would be. Guide our steps and help us to know that your love is fulfilled through us, flawed and broken that we are. For your power is made perfect in our weakness. In your name we pray. Amen.
Go forth in the confidence that God is there beside us in every moment – our successes and our failures. In the name of God the Creator, Christ the Redeemer, and the Spirit who sustains us.