The Subtlety of Fear - A Message for Men

We don’t realize it but we make many of our decisions out of fear, especially men. We don’t necessarily feel afraid, we’re not sitting in the corner balled up biting our nails, we don’t have chills running down our spine, but we have let fear constrict our willingness to stand on God’s promises because of fear associated with responsibility.

Responsibility, that’s mostly a good thing but it can cause us to limit our interaction with God. This, of course, applies to women but I feel it on my heart to talk to men this week.

My man, you’re doing a good job — you’re paying your bills, you’re trying to be a good dad, you’re treating your wife as lovingly as you can, you’re working at your job to make your boss happy so you can have a shot at that promotion, you’re voting for the right issues, you’re trying to take care of your body, you’re investing for your children’s future, and so on. There’s only one problem with all that, God isn’t in that “list.”

In fact, the last thing men want is more responsibility. Unfortunately, men try to go to church and get another list of rules. They’re pressured into serving and being made to feel like their love for sports or fishing gets in the way of living for God. It’s no wonder male church attendance has declined.

But men, I have a few things to say to you. Many of you feel like you don’t have time for church, which is fine, but do you have time for God?

When you’re making your budget, or you’re pondering your job and how you can make more money, or when you’re thinking about your kids, do you leave some time to understand God’s heart on the matter? Do you take time to find a passage in scripture that relates to your specific areas of responsibility in life?

God has something to say about your life and all the things you need to get done. He just might be able to show you how to make some decisions and how to handle some of that responsibility in a different way that causes you to thrive and prosper beyond what you thought possible, in fact, I guarantee he does.

Here’s my point, I don’t want you to feel like following God is just another responsibility, we all know you have plenty of those already.

Include God

When you’re thinking about all the things you need to do, I want to encourage you to include God, think about your life WITH him. See yourself next to him in your mind, looking at your life together rather than seeing him on the other side of your problem, detached from you. You don’t have to convince God to come into your life, he’s with you, looking at it from your same perspective.

He cares about you and everything you need to do, he can show you how to take some pressure off and enjoy your life a little more.

Don’t Bury Your Passion

Do you remember the story of the servants who were entrusted with talents? One of them received one talent but buried it in the ground so he didn’t lose it. A talent is a bag of gold or silver, by the way.

Here’s what happened when the master addressed the man with one talent…

Matthew 25:24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’

“I was afraid” He wasn’t evil, he didn’t blow it, he didn’t lose it, he hid it because he was afraid of disappointing his master. I wonder what you have buried for fear of failure? I wonder where you’re looking at your responsibilities through the filter of the cares of this world and the pressure of money and have buried the God-given passion and talent within you.

You’re not afraid, hiding from life, not taking care of your business, but the fear of failing my have desensitized your heart to God and robbed you of the desire to thrive. I have spoken with lots of men who hate their jobs, they’re bored with life, they come home, drink beer and watch TV…all because they don’t want to lose what they’ve worked for.

It’s too hard to create room to be inspired by God and live for something more than meeting the family’s needs. It’s noble to provide for your family, it’s the right thing to do, but has it robbed you of that passion to live for something beyond your responsibilities?

A Challenge

I want to challenge you to dream a little beyond your present responsibilities.

Here’s the process if you accept the challenge. Grab a notebook or note app and get alone. Think about an area or two where you’re actually proud of yourself, a place where you’re doing a good job. Think about it and feel a little pride in yourself. Stay there a little while…

Then turn your heart to God and allow yourself to feel gratitude toward him. It may be difficult but sit there a while, direct your mind until you feel a sense of thankfulness toward God, in any area at all.

Then think of an area of your life you’d like to see improve, specifically an area related to one of your responsibilities. Now ask God for wisdom in that area and be ready to take notes. Stay here a while, write down what comes to mind…

You’re already going to think or worry about that area of life, why not have your inner world thankful toward God before you let yourself sort through all the stuff you have to do?

Include God in your planning and pondering. He’s a good dad and will guide you lovingly into success given the chance.

Men, you’re doing a good job, just stretch a little and let God take away some of the fear that life has created within you. Let hope arise and let that God-given desire for success out of its cage a little. Go ahead, you can do it!!

Clint Byars

Believer, Husband, Father