We all “know” we should obey God, I mean, even my children know obedience is the right thing to do. So why then, as a grown adult woman do I not just simply obey God?
The answer is FEAR!
I’m generally not the type of person who is afraid of things, but this type of fear is different. It’s an unhealthy concern for what other people think. In other words… I worship the opinions of others, rather than God. Ouch!
((((If I was sitting with you, at this point I would give you a hug and remind you that we are in this together and there is HOPE! Carry on!))))
We all live with either fear of God or fear of someone else, and we can never live fearing both at the same time. Who we fear determines what we do and how we live.
Who are you afraid of?
Proverbs 29:25 says “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”
I love this quote from Ed Welch in the book When People are Big and God is Small:
“Fear in the biblical sense… includes being afraid of someone, but it extends to holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by people, worshipping other people, putting your trust in people, or needing people… The fear of man can be summarized this way: We replace God with people. Instead of a biblically guided fear of the Lord, we fear others… When we were in our teens, it is called ‘peer pressure.’ When we are older it is called ‘people-pleasing.’ Recently, it has been called ‘codependency’.”
Which person comes to mind first when you think of this type of fear? Whose opinion matters far too much to you? Is your appetite for praise unhealthy? Does criticism devastate you? Here’s a stinger: are you overcommitted to doing things God never asked you to do, but someone else did?
I’ve had to carefully consider my response to this topic and these questions recently as God is “cleaning house” in my own heart. I’ve had to realize that so much of the fear in my life is rooted from fear of rejection, criticism, disappointment, hatred or even conflict.
WHOA!! This is not the life that God is talking about in John 10:10 when He says “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I come that you may have life and have it abundantly.”
I see the effects of this “thief” in a fear that manifests itself in anxiety, mood swings, aggressive driving, panic attacks, depression, etc. You name it, and people are suffering from it. Fear is about not getting what we want, or getting what we want and losing it, or getting what we don’t want.
The answer to fear of man is FEAR OF GOD! The #1 command in the Bible is “Fear not,” appearing more than 150 times. Rather than having unhealthy fear of man, the Bible commands us to have a healthy fear of Jesus, meaning we care more about what He says than what others say. This means we endure whatever we have to, knowing that He will reward us for being faithful. Paul affirmed us to work “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bond-servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:6-7)
I will close with this encouragement for us all:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” Psalm 111:10
Dear Reader, You are loved! You are appreciated and have eternal value, which far surpasses what you’ll ever understand. I am praying for you! Today you can find freedom in serving the Lord alone and not held in bondage to the fear of how others will perceive you!