At the core of my heart were two problems.
The first, as I mentioned above, was the fear of rejection. For the record, there’s rarely been a fundraising meeting where I haven’t felt at least some measure of fear–not because I’m afraid of my friends or their friends, but because I desire to communicate Jesus, and the ministry He’s called us to, exceptionally well. In other words, I overthink what I speak and feel nervous about whether I’ll radiate Jesus well or come off as some desperate, broken salesman who can see through everyone but himself.
The second, and possibly even heavier issue, was condemnation. If you’ve never fundraised, all of this might seem petty or silly (and in some ways it is, so it helps you see how I wrestle with more insecurity than my ever-confident-self lets on). I perceive the art of inviting people into the passion Jesus has placed within me as a great gift, and aim to treat it as such. Yet, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle.
Condemnation and conviction sound like they could be related, but nothing could be further from the truth. The difference between the two is that condemnation will tear you down simply to tear you down. Conviction might, and only for a season, tear you down because it knows that Jesus has a greater chance of increasing, as you and I are steadily decreasing. Condemnation will try convincing you how miserable, wretched, undeserving, and useless you are. Conviction will tell you that, although you might currently feel miserable, wretched, undeserving, and useless––Jesus is present and lifting you out––even if you don’t instantly feel the power of that lifting.
Condemnation is an accuser, especially of the brethren.
So, what does condemnation sound like the day before I leave for the longest fundraising trip of my nine-year ministry career?
1. You're not fruitful enough in life or ministry.
2. You don’t deserve the funding you’re trying to raise.
3. Who nominated you as weird missionary guy anyway?
4. All missionaries are meant to live poor, barely surviving. Why do you even think for a second that you could thrive?
Then, in one short look at how the apostle Paul opens Romans 8, the voice of condemnation is struck down, silenced, and the power of God recenters my faith:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. - Romans 8:1
So, whether it’s me gearing up for a fundraising trip, or you dealing with whatever stirs the enemy to cut you down most, condemnation has already been swallowed up and spat out by Christ. His work on the cross was final, no matter how rational accusation may come across. The only power condemnation now holds is a whisper––fleeting attempts to convince us that Christ really did not pay for everything. But He did and it is finished.
Jesus, forgive me for being afraid of the things hiding in the dark––like insecurity, rejection, fear of failure, condemnation, and accusation. Thank you for being the Liberator of our Souls. I surrender afresh to you. Holy Spirit, grow us more today into the likeness of Jesus, so the whole world will know the love of the Father toward them.