Afraid to Fail

Dr. Anthony W. Adams

One ballplayer set the major league record for strikeouts with 1316. The same player set a record for five consecutive strikeouts in a World Series game. The holder of both records was the great slugger Babe Ruth. The “Sultan of Swat” hit more than 40 homers per season in 11 seasons—a record never equaled—and 60 in one season. Before he retired in 1935, Ruth hit 714 career home runs, a record few players have even approached. The point is, you cannot accomplish great things if you are afraid of failure. In this article I want to deal with the subject of being afraid of failure and how this keeps some people from accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior.

I Just Don’t Think I Could Live It

The fact is, some people have made an absolute mess of their lives. They are addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, or possibly a combination of the three.  For others it is their finances.  When you look at their bank account you think you are watching the Harlem Globe Trotters for all the bouncing. Shut-off notices and late payments are a way of life and the stress they’re under is unbearable. Still for others, it is failed relationships.  Your spouse is gone or is about to leave.  The children no longer respect you or talk to you.  Your friends avoid you, except for the ones who are pulling you farther and farther down. It could be that your problem is a combination of some, or all of these things.  Your situation might be something  I haven’t mentioned, but the point is, when you look at your life, although you desperately want things to be better; you want to change, you feel that you are too far gone.  You feel like real change would be impossible. And although the hope of a better life is very attractive, the fear of failure is too great.   Therefore,  you manufacture every excuse you can to avoid change because deep down, you are afraid of another failure.

Some might say that a person who feels this way is not giving themselves enough credit. I would disagree.  It is not that they do not know themselves or are not giving an adequate and honest appraisal of their strength and abilities, the problem is they’re not giving God enough credit.

“Our Hope is Built on Nothing Less…”

The old hymn says,

My hope is built on nothing less,Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

My friend, God not only can save you, He has the strength and power to keep you. Peter told the Jewish Christians who had been driven out of Jerusalem and scattered throughout Asia Minor, “We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5, KJV, emphasis mine). Paul told Timothy, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12, KJV, emphasis mine). My point is, God is able, through His strength and ability, to make you stand. I am not saying that you may not stumble, but as one of the writers of the proverbs said, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…” (Proverbs 24:16, NIV).


A group of scientists and botanists were exploring remote regions of the Alps in search of new species of flowers. One day they noticed through binoculars a flower of such rarity and beauty that its value to science was incalculable. But it lay deep in a ravine with cliffs on both sides. To get the flower someone had to be lowered over the cliff on a rope.

A curious young boy was watching nearby, and the scientists told him they would pay him well if he would agree to be lowered over the cliff to retrieve the flower below.

The boy took one long look down the steep, dizzy depths and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.” A short time later he returned, followed by a gray-haired man. Approaching the botanist, the boy said, “I’ll go over that cliff and get that flower for you if this man holds the rope. He’s my dad.” (Our Daily Bread, April 8, 1996).

You don’t have to be afraid, you are in God’s hands.

Questions: Have you ever had someone say to you that they could never live the Christian life? What was your response?

(Note: We look forward to your comments. You may answer any, all, or none of the questions. If you wish you can pose your own questions or simply add your insight and viewpoint to the article.)

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