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Dealing With Our Problems Biblically: Fear of Man

April 28, 2015

Grace to you! Scripture is very clear about something: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25) Fear of man is everywhere! Once we understand this principle and how to be free from it, our lives can be changed to be able to glorify God in a far richer way!

Think of all the places we see the fear of man used as a tool to get people to conform to a particular agenda. If kids don’t act or dress a certain way, then the other kids at school may not think they are all that popular. Society calls it ‘peer pressure.’ Scripture calls it fear of man and therefore a sin! News pundits use fear of man language to seek to coerce people to accept certain behaviors, ideas, political plans, etc or else they will give them a label such as racist, homophobic, or whatever other new label they can use to get people to comply with their desires. The name calling is their sinful way to seek to play on the sinful tendencies in others to fear man and his opinions. What happens? “The fear of man lays a snare.” People go along with whatever agenda, idea, behavior, etc that supposed elite people say for fear of losing their approval and being given a name.

Modern psychology’s answer to how to deal with this problem isn’t helpful. They tell us we need to love ourselves, to value ourselves for ourselves, rather than seeking to conform to everyone else’s desires. Why is this a problem? Because Jesus said this promotes the same issue that’s in the fear of man. Fear of man says conform to others so that you can preserve your life, reputation, etc. Modern psychology says don’t worry about what they say, live for yourself only. Psychology’s self-love goal and fear of man’s peer pressure work the same sinful way: preserve your life at whatever cost. So what is the answer then?

Jesus says our problem isn’t that we have loved ourselves too little, but that we love ourselves too much! “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) The call to take up a cross is the same as saying, “Go sit in your electric chair and throw the switch on” to your self-focused life. We love ourselves to the exclusion that we don’t love God first and primarily. The Psalmist redirects us: “I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:11) Jesus tells us the antidote to fear of man. It is the fear of God. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

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