Church Communications resources and tips from Justin Dean

How the Fear of Sacrifice is Holding Us Back

There are an estimated 2.5 billion Christians in the world and each and every one has the distinct honor to share Christ’s love with others, using the talents and gifts He has so generously given us for His glory. Yet, less than 1% of Christians are engaged in cross-cultural missions.

A gap exists between what we as Christians know we should do and what we actually do – often because of fear. Most of the time fear causes us to doubt, worry, become anxious or run away from the calling we’ve already said “yes” for – the very “yes” we gave when we first told Jesus that we’d follow Him with our whole life! He is leading, but often we’re too afraid to actually follow Him.

Believe me, I have experienced the type of fear that made it difficult for me to hear God’s voice and step into the purpose He made me for. When we let fear take over, we fail to trust God fully and hesitate to step out for the Kingdom.

While two of the most common fears held by believers who struggle to live life as an all-the-time disciple are fear of safety and failure, research conducted by The Mission Gap Project revealed that the overwhelming majority of people said fear of sacrifice is their biggest barrier.

A good way to sum it up is that people are afraid to let go of the things that make up their comfortable lifestyles. For example, many Americans, when surveyed, were fearful of giving up community, neighbors, privileges, school or careers.

There will always be an excuse and something worldly to lose, but when you gain perspective on the eternal value that comes with living your life as a disciple and sharing God’s love, there is no sacrifice that should outweigh the decision of engaging as a part of God’s transformational work in the world. Many of the things we call comforts are tangible and make up our version of the American dream, but God’s dreams for us are greater still.

Unpacking fear and getting to the root cause can lead to understanding and perspective. It can help us double up on our trust in God, and grow as disciples. When we think about the hesitation to sacrifice we realize that fear is anchored in insecurities that arise from giving up time, money, possessions or comfort. Not only are we afraid of how our comfortable lifestyle will change but how it will impact our family as well, making the fear more complicated.

Fear is born out of past experiences, imagined future consequences and lack of information. Fear tells us where we feel the most vulnerable and can guide a decision to place our trust in God. This presents an incredible opportunity for ministry leaders to address fear head-on through tools and studies that help disciple Jesus followers to step out in faith.  One resource to consider is the Reflection Guide created in unison with my book, “The Family Business: A Parable About Stepping Into The Life You Were Made For.”

As Christians, I believe we should be choosing every day to look at our fears through God’s eyes, rather than our own. Remembering that God is in control and we can fully trust Him to guide us and lead us to exactly where He wants us to be is so important. Try to let go of worldly desires and the illusion of control, so God can move through you and past your fears to accomplish big things in His name.


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