Fear of man (other people) is an awful thing. It brings terrible bondage and leads us to make unwise choices. In an effort to outrun the fear, we might become people-pleasers rather than God-pleasers. We might come under control from others, or even worse. Some people have grown so afraid that they are unable to leave their own homes. The Bible is very accurate when it says: ‘the fear of man brings a snare’.
Jesus said something interesting about it all. He told us that, rather than fearing what people can do to us, we would do better to be afraid of what God can do (Luke 12:4-5). This agrees with what it says in Isaiah 8:13: ‘The LORD of hosts, Him shall you hallow, let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread’.
Having a fear of God might not seem like something desirable, but in fact it will keep us from sin (Exodus 20:20) and lead us to life. Again, we have an insight from Proverbs (14:27) ‘The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death’.
It would do us a world of good if we could start to apply this wisdom in practical situations. We might indeed have a fear of people, or of painful or difficult situations. It’s in that moment of fear that we can ask ourselves: “What should I be more afraid of? Of this situation, this person, or God?” And we can pray: “Heavenly Father, I ask You to help me to please You in this situation, even though I feel a bit fearful”.
As someone who’s struggled with timidity for a long time, I’ve found it helpful to allow God into these moments, to help me face my fears. It’s brought me enormous freedom. Whereas before I was more inclined to bow down to and be a slave to fears, now I’m finding that a right fear of God is helping me to live much more boldly and freely.
Though I realise I might be in danger of becoming repetitive, I would like to say it again. If we can only seek to please the Lord in each situation and make that our goal at all times, we’ll receive much blessing. As it says in Deuteronomy 8:6-7, ‘Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land’.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I recognise that Jesus taught us we should fear You more than anything or anyone else. I’m sorry for all the times that I’ve not done that. I ask You now to help me by Your Holy Spirit to please You more than anyone else, especially when I do feel afraid. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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