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Fear of Man

“We fear men so much, because we fear God so little.”

William Gurnall

My struggle with fear of man can be traced back to fear of rejection and feeling lonely and abandoned. I experienced an early memory of rejection during elementary school. Standing amidst a cluster of classmates I waited. Holding my breath I thought, Please choose me! One by one other names were called out, leaving me to be one of the last chosen. Not being athletically talented, the team captains didn’t want me, a liability, to be on their sport team. This along with other situations helped me believe the lie I was not wanted.

Proverbs 29:25, the “Fear of man will prove to be a snare,” has been true in my life. I’m hesitant to share my opinions and to assert myself when I fear man. I become overly compliant to the point I no longer know who I am. I end up enabling others, which isn’t healthy for them or for me. I become “user friendly,” requiring little from my friends, so they choose to spend time with me. Since I’m a people-pleaser, I escape conflict and run away from confrontation. Ultimately, fear of man encourages me to disobey God.

Rick Joyner says, “Many of our fears that keep us in bondage are linked to our idols.” Idols are what we bow down to, where we place our trust, or who we depend on in place of God. My idols are those things and people that I run to for comfort. When I fear man, I worship the idol of acceptance. Idolatry is caring more about what others think than what God thinks. Fear of man rules my life when my self worth is based upon people liking and accepting me, not because of God’s unconditional love and acceptance.

One way to override our fear of man is to fear the Lord more. The greater our reverence is for God, the lesser our fear of man will be. As we grow in our fear of the Lord, our desire to please God soars. I often will ask the Holy Spirit to increase my fear of God.

When I reframe my earliest memory of rejection I see Jesus as the team captain. Our eyes meet and He points His finger towards me and says, “I choose you!” The Lord wants me! Even though I may not be the best at what He’s asking me to do, He accepts me as I am . He chose me to be on His team. I know I am wanted and unconditionally accepted by God. It’s His team I belong on.

“It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man.”

John Witherspoon

Relevant Reflections:

1. How is fear of man displayed in your life?

2. What steps will you take to increase your fear of the Lord?

3. What idols are stealing your adoration away from God?


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