Back at the end of October I was beginning to dread November. In August I had a nasty ear infection and then a nasty cold. In September I had walking pneumonia. In October I broke my knee. And so I dreaded what November would bring. And so I posted as my status update that I wondered what November would bring. Then a lady from church replied with “cowboy up.”Yeah. That hit me. I wasn’t doing what I had just told people to do in my previous sermon.
Why is that something important? Well, besides practicing what I was preaching, I was doing exactly what I said we all do. You see, we were going through a series about being a man of God. It was called The Warrior. We had just heard the message The Frightened Warrior (you can listen to it here). One of the things I was talking about was that biggest fear men have is of failing. We don’t like to fail.
This fear grips us and keeps us from stepping forward and doing a lot of things. It stops us from trying new things. It stops us from learning new things. It prevents us from growing in our faith. It prevents us from utilizing the God given gifts that we have.
I’ll be honest with you, a man’s ego is massively fragile, I mean to the point of breaking him apart at the littlest tap. Why is that? I have no idea. A man is hardwired to hunt down prey, to kill the wooly mammoth and bring it back to be cooked. A man is hardwired to then sit around the fire and talk about the hunt and what didn’t happen but should of. That’s just how a guy is.We want to know if what we’ve done today is worthy of the hunt. Did we bring back a big enough slab of meat? Did we provide enough for the whole tribe?
And when things don’t go the way we planned or the way we wanted to, our egos crack like eggs and we are worried about failing again. We didn’t do the dishes right, well, then I don’t want to do them again…what if I fail again at it. I didn’t discipline my kid the right way and my wife got upset at me about it. I don’t want to do that again, what if I fail?
Men need their wooly mammoth to slay. They need the hunt, they need to know that we’ve accomplished something. And when things begin to dissolve and crack, we become afraid of what might come next. And we become afraid of doing, well, anything at all.
What I find interesting is in the book of Joshua you see a sense of fear in this up and coming leader. I mean, he’s been Moses’ second in command for like a long time, but he’s still a bit worried about leading as the head cheese.
And then God tells him
Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is wiht you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
This is God’s way of saying “cowboy up.” It’s okay. You can do it. Why? Because I am with you.
And so, men out there, if you’re worried, if you’re discouraged, if you’re afraid of failure, don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged. God is with you where ever you go.
So, where do you need to step forward in faith? Where are you being a bit afraid right now and know you need to take that next step? Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. No. Instead be bold and be strong. For God is with you.