Have you ever felt yourself running from the call to preach because of fears that have been planted in your head?
Fearing the Call to Preach
If you feel like you are running from the call to preach, you are not alone. All the disciples had their doubts and they still represented Jesus just fine in the book of Acts. One of them was called “doubting Thomas” and he was in. In fact, if you’ve got a bunch of fear and doubts, I have got good news for you. You can make a great disciple! Just pick up your doubts and follow after Jesus. If you do that long enough, one day, all your doubts will go away. Think of it this way, in heaven, nobody is going to be like,”Do you believe in Jesus?” You’d be like, “He’s sitting right there…” We are on Earth and it is okay to have fears and doubts, we just have to make sure that no fear turns us running from the call to preach.
Running From the Call To Preach
At the beginning of 2 Timothy, Paul writes, “Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy” (2 Timothy 1:4). Why do you think Timothy was crying?
In Acts 20, when Paul gathers the Elders of the church together, he lays his hands on young Timothy. He is going to commission him into the ministry of being the pastor or the bishop at Ephesus. And Paul says this:
“For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 6-7).
We know that Timothy has a lot of things to overcome, yet the first thing Paul says was that God did not give him a spirit of fear.
Scripture tells us not to be afraid. At least 366 times in the Bible, there is some version of “be anxious for nothing.” Fear not. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. Why? Because, I don’t know about you, but every single day of my life, including leap year, I need to hear from the Father. We need to hear this because fear is a liar. If you feel that you are running from the call to preach, remember this, we have an enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy and his native tongue is lies. The opposite of faith is not doubt, it is fear.
If You Want a Comfortable Life, Don’t Plant a Church
Fourteen times in this tiny little letter from Paul to Timothy, Paul invited Timothy to suffer for the sake of the gospel by the power of God. Listen, if you plant a church, it’s going to cost you something. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good and glorious days. And praise God that we live in a time where we’re not running from the lions when we preach. Yet if you want a comfortable life, don’t plant a church. If you want to make people happy, sell ice cream.
However, if God is giving you the call to preach, there will be no other thing that you could ever do without looking back on your life and have nothing but regret because you did not step into the calling and the power that God had offered to you. Right after he tells him not to fear, he gives him 14 reasons that he should be afraid and then he says again, do not be afraid. That is how strong the power of God is.
The Trap of Comparison
One of the things that kills ministry these days, more than anything else, is the trap of comparison. God has a calling on your life. When he gets to chapter four Paul is going to instruct Timothy to fulfill his ministry. That is God’s call in your life, to fulfill your ministry. It is not to fulfill my ministry, it’s not to fulfill your dad’s ministry and it’s not to fulfill your denomination’s ministry.
The worst thing in the world you could do is try to do anything with your life other than what God has called and created you to do. Comparison kills. Do you ever get the whispers? The whispers of the enemy giving you fears and doubts? That is called condemnation. Those are lies and the more we buy into the lies of the enemy, the more we’re incapacitated by fear, the more we cannot step out in faith to do what God has called us to do. Timothy chose to step out in faith. Will you?