Everyone experiences fear, worry, anxiety, stress, and burden in various ways and to varying degrees. God knows this fact, which is why in some form or fashion “fear not” is the most common command in all of the Bible.
In John, Jesus’ ministry grows–as is always the case–both with fans and foes. Eventually, the foes started publicly shaming and threatening Jesus’ fans to the degree that we read in 7:13, “for fear…no one spoke openly of him.” You likely know this fear. When coworkers, family, or friends are bashing Christ or Christians it makes you more likely to stay quiet and avoid the conflict. Online, things are even worse as trying to be reasonable about an issue on social media only encourages a public digital flogging.
Everyone lives either from fear of man or fear of God.
Fear of man is also known as people pleasing. People pleasers so hate conflict and criticism that they allow other people to boss and bully them around. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap…” When you fear someone, they take God’s place in your life. You live to please them, and do what they say to avoid them making your life hell on earth.
The solution to fear of man is fear of God. Fear of God allows you to remember that when you are left with the dilemma of saying yes to someone and no to God, or no to someone and yes to God that God should win. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”
Fear of man is contagious. Once a few people stop speaking up and standing up it becomes normal. Fear of God is also contagious. Once a few people start speaking up and standing up they inspire contagious courage.
Who in your life is causing you to live from fear of man rather than fear of God?
By Mark Driscoll