Written by: Bill Elliff
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
The fear of man is ultimately all about ME. It is that underlying drive to protect myself, make myself look good, advance myself that drives me to live for the approval and recognition of others. Therefore, like all sins, it ultimately stems from the root of pride.
This debilitating fear will enslave us, capture us, drive us, trip us up, hinder us. It is amazing how powerful a man-fearing, man-pleasing spirit can be. Many men are completely consumed and driven by this drive to please others. It is like an underlying computer program subconsciously running all the time, consuming valuable emotional and spiritual resources and draining battery life.
The fear of man leads you to do silly things. Exalting yourself, being unwilling to be transparent (out of a fear that someone will find out who you are or are not and not approve), redirecting your steps to please everyone else, being unwilling to make the hard choices out of a fear it will adversely affect your relationships…and on and on.
A man who is gripped by the fear of man is in a bondage that he may not even realize. Often, this fear has been developed by a poor or non-existent relationship with a father in his past that has lead to a constant drive to find the approval they’ve missed all their lives.
A pastor who has not overcome this fear is a disaster. He cannot possibly be God’s pure instrument because his motivation is his own safety and reputation. He can often look like a success, but if his motivation is self-glory, in the end his work may well be revealed as wood, hay, and stubble. Until he dies to this debilitating disease his usefulness will be limited.
The alternative is to come to the point where your greatest concern is not what man thinks, but God. It is life changing to deeply understand your approval before the Father. To know who you really are after you have come to Christ and what He really thinks of you. When you are secure in this relationship, you do not worry what others may think. You are no longer driven by the fear of man. If you were playing a game of pick-up basketball, and Michael Jordan was one team captain and HE PICKED YOU, you would care less about what others thought! The one who matters the most had approved of you. This is the great key to moving from the fear of man to the fear of God.
It is a highly significant moment when you realize the depth of your man-pleasing, man-fearing spirit and its grip is broken over your life. When you are more concerned about God’s opinion than man’s, you have reached a great point of liberation. You will be fearless in your obedience to Him. You will be willing to do whatever He asks, regardless of what others think. The cords that you have inadvertently let others wrap around you fall away. You are finally “safe” and secure in Christ.
(copyright, Bill Elliff)
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