Proverbs 29:25 (ESV)
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Do you worry about what other people think of you? Do you have a hard time resisting the pull of the crowd? Do you find yourself going out of your way to please people, fearing what may happen if you let them down? Living your life with this “fear of man” – either desiring approval or fearing reprisal – will set a trap that will be hard for you to avoid – a trap that you will do just about anything to escape once it has you in its grasp.
The Desiring God website of Pastor John Piper puts it well when it states, “The person(s) whose reward of approval we desire most — whose curse of disapproval we most fear to receive — is the person(s) we will obey, our functional god.” Who is YOUR “functional god”? Is it the approval of the people who surround you…or the approval of the God who created you?
When you become a follower of Christ, you inherit a nature that flips the world’s standards on their head. Instead of working towards victory, you now operate out of victory. The bible declares that you are now “more than a conqueror” through Christ (Rom 8:37). Instead of fearing what man can do to you in the physical world, your only fear – a reverential fear – is of the God of the bible who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Mth. 10:28). Instead of bowing down to the false gods of this world, your ultimate allegiance is to God rather than man (Acts 5:29).
The number one prayer request of the early church was for boldness, and God provided all that and more. You don’t have some small portion of the Holy Spirit’s power within you, as if He has been divided amongst the millions and millions of Believers across the globe…you have all of it! That is why Paul could declare so confidently that, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (1 Tim. 1:7). You don’t need to ask for anything more in your battle against the fear of man…you just need to act on the incredible power that already resides within you!
Choosing to trust God is where true safety is found rather than trusting in what your fellow man can do for you…or in fearing what they can do to you. God will provide all the strength you need when you obey in spite of feeling afraid. Don’t take the bait! Fearing God rather than man is the path to true and everlasting safety.