Posts Tagged ‘church leadership’

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A Difficult Study for Men: Circumcision

August 29, 2009

scaredmanLet’s face it, if you are a part of a men’s Bible Study, the last subject you would expect to have would be one on circumcision.  Unfortunately, when covering a book in the Bible in sequential order, you have to discuss some topics you would normally just skip over.  If you cover any of the epistles, chances are, you will come across the great debate of the time, “circumcision vs. no circumcision.”

Just some information on circumcision for you to consider before we get started.

In Paul’s day, some Rabbis taught that Abraham sat at the entrance of Hell and made certain that none of his circumcised descendants went there. Some Rabbis also taught “God will judge the Gentiles with one measure and the Jews with another” and “All Israelites will have part in the world to come.”  I recently read that circumcision and baptism do about the same thing that a label on a can does. If the outer label doesn’t match with what is on the inside, something is wrong! If there are carrots inside the can, you can put a label says “Peas” but it doesn’t change what is inside the can. Being born again changes what is inside the can, and then you can put the appropriate label on the outside.

So where is the beginning of Circumcision?  Let’s start in Genesis 17:10-14.

10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your posterity after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token or sign of the covenant (the promise or pledge) between Me and you.12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male throughout your generations, whether born in [your] house or bought with [your] money from any foreigner not of your offspring.13 He that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money must be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.14 And the male who is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

This particular passage marks a change and the fathering of the Jewish nation.  God sets apart his people with this covenant through Abraham.

Notice that it is a token or a sign of the covenant, much like a wedding ring or fraternity tattoo.  It marks we are.  The covenant is in the flesh, an everlasting covenant.  God made it known that now part of our bodies is outside of this covenant.   It is no irony that the covenant was made with this particular part of the male body symbolizing a new birth or the birth of a new nation.  Most covenants have something you have to give, it may hurt, this definitely meets the bill on this.

In the English and Romance languages the derivation of the word ‘male’ and ‘masculine’ is derived from the Latin ‘mas’, a root meaning heavy or the strong one, whereas the Hebrew word for male is zachar, which has the same root letters as ‘to remember’.  We are to “remember” our covenant with Christ.

As men, especially today, I think there are a lot of things we need to “remember.”   We will continue this discussion by picking up Paul’s take on the whole subject.  Romans 2:25-29 deals a lot with circumcision.   We will discuss this in the next post : Circumcision Part II.  Hope you will join us for that discussion.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness Part II

July 18, 2009

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.  We are continuing our discussion on Christian Self-Righteousness.

Let’s pick up with Romans 2: 4:

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

Paul brings out three attributes of God’s riches: kindness and forbearance and patience.  These are key to understanding Paul’s point.

God’s Kindness or Goodness is often referred to as loving kindness, and in other translations, the word used here is Goodness.

Goodness may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our past sin. He has been good to us because He has not judged us yet though we deserve it.  James 1:17, “Every good and perfect thing comes from you…”  Goodness is a natural manifestation of God, the perfect one

The Greek word used here is the word used for Easy or loosely translated as “fit for use or able to use again.”  It is through the Goodness/Kindness of Christ that we are able to move past our forgiven sin and be “used again” by Christ in his mission.  When we see or experience God’s goodness, we should understand:

  • God has been better to them than they deserve
  • God has shown them kindness when they have ignored Him
  • God has shown them kindness when they have mocked Him
  • God is not a cruel master and they may safely surrender to Him
  • God is perfectly willing to forgive them
  • God should be served out of simple gratitude

God’s Forbearance may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our present sin. This very day – indeed, this very hour – we have fallen short of His glory, yet He holds back His judgment against us.  Once we move past the past sin, many Christians struggle with the fact that they are still sinning daily.  Forbearance means “a holding back” & denotes “forbearance,” a delay of punishment.  Forbearance is  not of His forgiveness, but His withholding due punishment.

God’s Patience or Longsuffering may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our future sin. He knows that we will sin tomorrow and the next day, yet He holds back His judgment against us.  “Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy, and is used of God.”  Mercifully, God knows that we are going to sin tomorrow, yet through his patience with us, he continues to hold back the wrath of justice, or the penalty for our sin.  Many Christians, including me, cannot comprehend this quality of Christ.  It was Christ’s “longsuffering” on the cross that we were saved.

So how does this relate to our discussion on Christian Self-Righteousness?  Many of us revel in the goodness, forbearance, and patience granted to us by accepting Christ as our Savior, however, we often forget that same essence of God’s riches also applies to those are lost.  Christian Self-Righteousness will often blind us to the other side of Christ’ riches-His justified wrath.

In the next post, we will discuss the natural outcome of being exposed to the riches of Christ-a call to repentance.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Guilt

Fear Part I

Fear Part II

Unwillingness to Change

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

Christ-like Leadership, Christian coaching, Christian Leader, Christian Leadership, Christian perspectives, church leadership, Christian men, Christian warrior, Christian Home Leadership, Christian father, Christian husband, Christian dad, Christian family leadership, Christian children, Enemy Behind the Lines

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness

July 16, 2009

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.

Take a moment to read Romans 1: 28-32.  In this passage, chance are, you find yourself nodding in agreement.  It is pretty easy find some sense of comfort or a sense of the next Enemy Behind the Linesself-righteousness.

“Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.  They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents.”  Romans 1: 29-30

You and I both know these “type of people.”  You know the ones.  Those who are perpetually lost and seem to be devoid of God’s hand in their life.  As it states in Romans 1, God, at some point, will leave those to their own desires after denying the Truth for so long.

I found myself nodding in agreement with Paul as he spoke of these people.  I kept nodding until I began Chapter 2!

Someone has once coined the definition of a jury as: “twelve people chosen to decide who has the best lawyer.” The Jews were generally a proud sort of people, that looked with a great deal of scorn and contempt upon the poor Gentiles, as not worthy to be set with the dogs of their flock; while in the mean time they were themselves just as bad.  Paul shifted from talking about the Gentiles to talking about the Jews who had the law and still disobeyed.  The Jews, like those of us who are Christian, know that God will judge according to the Truth, not just interpretation.  We must be careful not to point out the wrongs in everyone else’s life or be so eager to condemn those who are not Christian.  (There is a difference in holding a fellow Christian accountable and condemning someone who is already lost and we will discuss that in one of the next posts.)

Many of the Jews seemed to have felt and acted in a similar manner to many of us who are Christians today.

Romans 2: 3  “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?”

These two verses fit the saying, “Mercy for me and justice for everyone else.”   Paul takes some time to compare the two presumptions that Christians could make about the judgment of God

i.      First: We will escape the judgment of God

ii.      Second: God is kind to those who love him so we will merely get by

In Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness Part II, we will continue with the remaining part of Romans 2 and delve further into this concept of Self-Righteousness in the Christian mindset.  Paul brings out three attributes of God’s riches: kindness, forbearance and patience.  All three are to complete a specific mission on Christ’ behalf.  Be sure to join us in this series on enemies behind the line.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Guilt

Fear Part I

Fear Part II

Unwillingness to Change

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

Christ-like Leadership, Christian coaching, Christian Leader, Christian Leadership, Christian perspectives, church leadership, Christian men, Christian warrior, Christian Home Leadership, Christian father, Christian husband, Christian dad, Christian family leadership, Christian children, Enemy Behind the Lines

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Guilt

July 4, 2009

it-is-finished-closebible.gif

Last words.  These are most likely two of the most chilling words for most of us.  In that one moment, we have the choice of a lifetime to make.  What would you say?  Who would you say it to?  What would you leave behind for those whom you love?

I would like for us to explore one last word in particular: Telos.

So what does Telos mean? “It is finished.” It is a translation of the Greek word tetelestai, the perfect indicative passive tense of the word telos.  The most interesting fact is that telos means to end; to bring to completion; to bring to a conclusion; to complete; to accomplish; to fulfill or to finish.

28 After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst.29 There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth.30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. John 19: 28-30

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.  One such enemy is that of guilt.  It would be fair to say every human being suffers from some aspect of guilt.

Guilt is the emotion of remorse that we use to judge and berate ourselves when we perceive ourselves of doing something wrong.  It takes various forms and can affect everything from our sleep, appetite, work, and relationships.  Guilt is personally something I have struggled with in my faith walk for as long as I can remember.

There is a difference in conviction from Christ and guilt.  Godly grief or conviction generally draws us closer to Christ.  Most of the time, when I feel convicted over a particular event or behavior, the Holy Spirit is convicting me on the need for confession and repentance.  Guilt or regret usually has me wanting to hide myself from Christ, embarrassed and unwilling at times to go before the throne.

Guilt is a great weapon for Satan to use and it remains “hidden” due to its wide acceptance by the world as an acceptable feeling for those sins we have committed in our lives.  In its basic sense, guilt is merely a misappropriation of the origin of grace.

Telos describes the true nature of Christ’s sacrifice. The grace every true Christian enjoys flows from the sacrifice of Christ and not by any actions of our own.  Guilt can be the result of not fully understanding grace and the redemption provided under the blood of the new covenant.

Personally, I have struggled with guilt that has functioned much like an anchor to my daily faith walk.  Rather than approaching the throne of God, I have often allowed guilt to keep me from looking into the eyes of my savior.  I had a misguided understanding of the difference between guilt and conviction, so being unable to distinguish between the two, I would often pray for forgiveness that had already been given, just not received.  In recent months, I have been able to fully understand one key verse:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The most interesting fact is that telos means to end; to bring to completion; to bring to a conclusion; to complete; to accomplish; to fulfill or to finish.  Other translations include definitions referring to a debt being paid. What was brought to completion on the cross?  What debt was paid?

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Conviction brings to your conscience those sins you need to confess to Christ and repent of.  Guilt reminds you of sins Christ has already forgiven.  Conviction allows you to reach for the wounded hand of Christ and his redemptive love, whereas guilt prevents you from looking into the eyes of the one who saved you.

If you find yourself fighting a battle with guilt, just know you are not alone.  Most Christians, if they were to be honest, struggle with guilt.  It is one of the enemies we rarely realize we are fighting.  It is one serving more like a double-agent than an all out enemy.  Yet all in all, it is one of the deadliest.  Join us as we continue to discuss possible meanings of Christ’s last words on the cross.  What does Telos mean for you?

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Hello-I Am a Slave

June 11, 2009

In my day to day job, I live for the introduction.  There is much in an introduction.  Think about it for a minute.  In someone’s introduction, you could easily determine the following (even if it were over the phone):

  • Age – help you make inferences about how they are interpreting what you are saying.
  • Nationality – easily determined by accent or dialect
  • Job Title – may help you understand what motivates this person like ego, thrill of the kill, or the numbers
  • Last Name – again, a little about the heritage and perhaps, depending on the town, you could tell some about their “rank” in society

As you can see, there is a lot you can discover about a person in their introduction.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to prepare for teaching the book of Romans.  It has been a while since I have actually taken some time to study the book, and I believe now is the providential time for me to do so.

In preparing for the first lesson, I could not move past the first verse for a while.  Read Romans 1:1

1 Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God…

slave

Now in thinking about how I introduce myself, I usually mention that I am a husband, a father, and where I work and attend church.  Paul truly taught me how flawed my introduction was in Romans 1:1.   Let’s look at this a bit deeper.

1.  Paul introduces himself as a slave to Christ.  In his day, slaves were not even human, more like property, owned by someone else.  Their will and very existence depended upon their master.  In this short phrase, Paul is identifying himself as one who is not in control.  He names his master later in the passage as being Jesus.  Think for a second.  If you were to add this to your introduction, would it be true?  Could people honestly look at how you live your life and see that Christ was the “master” of your life and that your will was not your own?

2.  Slaves were bought by someone else.  Again, in this phrase, Paul is ultimately setting up his case for Christ.  By identifying himself as a slave of Christ, he is also implying that Christ paid for him.  In2 Corinthians 5:21 is states:

21 Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Wow, how humbling is it to know that the sinless son of God took on our sin as ransom for us?  He purchased us out of the slavery of the world to become slaves for Him.  Paul knew that better than most and it should not surprise us that he first identified himself as being “owned” or paid for by Christ.

3.  In saying all of this, Paul was identifying himself in Christ.  In Romans 6, Paul delves deeper into his identity in Christ.  Do you identify yourself in Christ?  I know there are times I do not and then again, the times I do, I am quite sure I should not.  Paul’s identity was not even his own.  He identified his master.

So the next time you go to introduce yourself, I hope you think of Romans 1:1 and give yourself a little “self-check”.  Those are always good to have, especially at the beginning of a new relationship.  Helps set the bar for how others may interpret you, and who knows, it may even introduce them to your master.

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Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Just the Word-A Good Friday Lesson

April 10, 2009

This past weekend, my wife and I took our children to Lifeway Christian stores.  As part of our Easter gift to them, we let each of the three pick out a new Bible.

The oldest, Braxton, is especially interested in reading things for himself.  After some bantering back and forth, he had his hopes locked in on a particular Bible that had a lot of pictures and very few words.  We looked around a bit and found the new Veggie Tales Bible which is a nice transition from the kids’ Bible to the more adult Bible.  One look at it, and he determined he didn’t want it.

I decided to work some “parental magic” on him and diplomatically got him to bring the Veggie Tale Bible with him as we walked over to where the Adult Bibles were.  I picked up one of the NIVs off of the shelf and sat down with him.  I selected a Scripture passage in the bible I had and had Braxton turn to the same passage in his.  Since I knew how much Braxton wanted to learn about Scripture, I thought the best way to get him to step up is to show him how similar the Veggie Tales Bible was to the “big person Bible.”

After I read the passage from the Bible I had, Braxton read the same passage out of his and instantly, his little face brightened with a smile.  Now, as a parent, I thought silently to myself, “I won!”  It was a short-lived victory because the lesson to be learned in this situation was not for Braxton, but rather more for me.

Braxton asked if he could look at my Bible and as he looked through it, he simply looked at me and said, “I don’t want the Veggie Tale Bible, I want this one.”  I spent some time trying to tell him that one was too old for him and that he needed to start out with the other one.  He said he didn’t want a Bible with any pictures in it.  Why?  His reason, simply put, struck my core.  With simple innocence, Braxton looked at me and gave me his reasoning:

“I just want the Word.”

I couldn’t hardly find any words to tell him no.  In fact, I was so busy trying to hold back tears that speaking was simply a bystander thought.  Granted, Braxton most likely meant he only wanted one with words, however, my spirit knew what Christ was saying through him to me.  And as you can see, a week later, the situation still consumes me.

How often do we spend Easter or Christmas focusing on what to wear to service, who’s going to get what, and what songs will be sung at church?  I know personally,  I have read several blogs this week talking about how to make the service more “attractive” or “inciting” to the visiting lost.  Churches will practice new songs, bring additional people into the choir, have additional services, but what is the real reason?

I guess as I sit and ponder upon Good Friday and think of Christ’ life, death, and resurrection, I am awestruck.  Jesus didn’t have the grand pianos, large choirs, or anything similar to Power Point, he simply had the Word.  After all, John 1 tells us he was the Word. And with only the Word, he drew masses of people.  In fact, you could say his sermon on the Mount was the first “mega-church.”

I am not, in any way, knocking the intense focus on making the Easter Celebration a grand event.  After all, it is worth more than any show, service, or anything we could ever put on.  I guess Braxton’s words just struck my core, challenging me to wonder how often I go to church looking for the “pictures on the page”.  Rather, I hope I begin having my heart, mind, soul, and flesh cry out, “I just want the Word.”

I sincerely hope you all have a great Easter…

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Enemy Behind the Lines-Fear Part II

April 6, 2009

Fear cripples most of us and we do not know how infested our camp is with fear until we are faced with one of these moments.  Most of the time, myself included, we back down and simply retreat thinking there will be another day to fight.  I have thought the same, but have been asked by Christ through my spirit, “What if the battle you needed to fight was today?”  That’s a hard question to answer.

Paul and Silas may have had some fear about singing hymns while in prison, but then again, what did they have to lose?  Chances are, they were told they would be executed or beaten.  They had a bodily threat where today, most of us only have a threat to our egos.  Paul and Silas had a greater fear though: the fear of the Lord.  They knew who was truly in control and submitted themselves to Christ again, in the midst of their fear.  Sometimes, that is all Christ is wanting from us, simple submission.  I am quite sure that as these two men sang, their fear began to subside back into the darkened corners of the prison where it belonged.

What are some of the fears most Christians have but may not know about? Here are just a few!

Confession

Ok, I realize they are not major things to others, but to me, the sight of a rooster or a clown begins the slow shutting down of major life systems in my body. My chest gets tight; I can hear my heartbeat in my head, and get physically ill, all within only two or three seconds of the initial sighting. So, regardless of what anyone else sees in these evil winged animals and demonic looking clowns, I am petrified.

I remember the first time I confessed my fear of roosters and clowns to someone close to me. It was a major leap of faith for me to confess such a fear to anyone and actually have to admit I was vulnerable. Before you ask the question, yes, this person laughed when I told them. In that moment, however, I realized the tremendous fear of confession I was harboring. It was almost harder telling someone else I had a flaw than it would be facing a clown holding a rooster.

A fear of confession is real and needs to be dealt with. I would venture to say all of us, on some level, have a fear of confession. It is not easy for us to dismount from our pedestal to mention even so much as one of the flaws we have.

If you don’t think you have this particular fear, let me ask you one question. What is that one sin you try your hardest to ensure no one knows about? Now, think about telling that sin to someone close to you, a way of confessing it and dealing with it. Do you realize now you have this fear?

Humiliation

As mentioned above, sometimes fear and pride go hand in hand, as would be the case with humiliation. We all try our hardest to “save face” in front of our friends, families, and co-workers. It seems there are some things in life that are not much different than grade school. Whether we admit it or not, we are still in the race to be sure we are wearing the right clothes, listening to the right music, have the right technology, driving the right car, etc.

A fear of humiliation is a devastating enemy behind the line. This particular fear might keep you from sharing your testimony with one of your co-workers. It could keep you from asking a burning question for fear of not knowing the answer. The fear of humiliation keeps us on the bench, spectators to Christianity. Fear of humiliation would be the equivalent of a soccer player having the fear of running. It’s counter to the Christian DNA.

The fear of humiliation is usually brought about through a past experience. It can be brought about through bullying, intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery, or by embarrassment if a person is revealed to have committed a socially or legally unacceptable act. In most instances, humiliation may not be known to anyone but you, even if it happens in a room full of people. I have seen some who later tell of events where they were humiliated, yet on the outside, they were laughing at themselves along with everyone else.

Rejection

Rejection and humiliation are different animals, but close in kin. Humiliation is not as personal to me as rejection is. In my humble definition, rejection involves the submission of myself to someone, only to be rejected by them. Humiliation can be done unintentionally, however, rejection, almost by definition, has to be personal. It is a devilish beast to deal with.

If you think about people in your life, most have this fear which may be tied to something that happened in their families, a past relationship or some other type of situation. It is a far reaching, deeply rooted fear that eventually permeates everywhere in their lives.

The fear of rejection works a lot like humiliation when it comes to a Christian’s walk. Rejection often prevents a Christian from being involved in a small group, or an evangelistic group. Of all the fears, however, I believe this has the greatest potential for change. Why? Christ, of all people, knows the feeling of rejection all to well. He was rejected by followers, Peter, teachers, clerics, politicians and numerous others. From the cross he yelled, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Someone who is dealing with the fear of rejection might want to cry out the same sometimes.

Failure

Atychiphobia-the official name of the fear of failure. I can identify with this one in particular. Most of us have a fear of failure, disappointing those you love or simply just failing. People who fear failure do not take any type of risks, play not to lose-if they even play at all. It can be a crippling and at times, but it is not beyond victory.

If we find ourselves with the fear of failure, we should be greatly comforted by several of the characters of the Bible. Failure seems to be a great theme throughout Scriptures. Of all of the great failures, Peter is my favorite. He seemed to be a complete pro at it. He slipped up while trying to walk on water. He sliced off the ear of the high priest’s servant. When the time came to step up, he denied knowing Christ three times. Regardless of these, Christ still had an affection for him. Christ saw the reasoning behind his failures… passion. That is something Christ can work with.

As I mentioned before, I have had my own struggles with the fear of failure. I always equated Christian with holiness and holiness with perfection. Warped vision I know. In prayer, I brought my fear of failure to the Cross several times, but always managed to take it back. There was one time, however, Christ did not let me take it back. It was time I learned to get past this fear.

In my Prayer Place, I was shown a cup and a nail. Every time I thought of a failure, the nail would put a hole in the cup. Eventually, there were several holes in the cup. Christ asked me, “What do you see?” Of course, my answer was, “the holes.” Christ pointed out that His Grace was like water being poured into the cup. As the water poured out through holes, it was clear to me that my faults, weaknesses, my holes was what allowed his grace to pour through my life… minister to others if you will.

Although I thought it was over, Christ turned the cup open face down and placed a candle under it. As you would guess, the light from the candle shown through the holes. It was quite apparent the message given to me… embrace my failures, they are what Christ uses to glorify himself.

Overcoming our Fear

I love the story of Paul and Silas and I believe it has a lot to tell us about fear. In a way, all of us become imprisoned by our various fears. My fear keeps me from farms and circuses. For some, it keeps them from flying, others might not ever take a risk and share the Gospel with someone out of fear of rejection or humiliation. Fear can be a powerful enemy.

Let’s look at Paul and Silas and how they dealt with fear. As a result of their prayers and praise through their fear, a Phillippian jailer was converted.  Their choice to overcome their fear through fervent prayer and worship saved not only the jailer, but his family.  What a testimony we have in this passage!  As a Christian Warrior, we are called to be bold and fearless in Christ.  Greater is he that we serve than he that comes against us.  If we all were to realize this slippery enemy in our own camp, perhaps Christ could use us more to reach out to the lost men we are constantly working with, speaking to, working out with, coaching with, etc.  Could you imagine the impact it would have on the Kingdom?

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”
H.P. Lovecraft

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

Fear

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.