Do you fear man? Are you constantly trying to get the approval of man? For instance: your boss, or some influential man, your colleagues, your friends? Were you shy to say grace before eating – when you are not with your Christian friends? Were you shy to tell someone that Jesus loves him? Are you worried constantly that people will misconstrue something that you did or said, and that they will be critical of you in speaking to other people?
The fear of man can be life crippling. It takes many forms, and has many complicated twisting and turnings to it, but if we are feeling insecure about how other people view us, then, the fear of man is the culprit behind it all. Dale Carnegie, an American writer and developer of famous courses in interpersonal skills; said in his writing: “No one ever kick a dead dog”. God’s Spirit indwells in His children, we are pretty much alive, and that is why Satan likes to find trouble with us. So, don’t be overly conscious about self, but be conscious about Jesus, for we are in Him, and He is in us. Behold His beauty, for Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. When God sees us, He sees Jesus, we are in Christ. And if God highly esteem Jesus, so are we in Christ. What can mere men do to us?
The fear of man often begins very subtly as negative imaginations centered on how we think others perceive us. As we indulge such imaginations, the evil one begins to get a foothold in our thinking, and pretty soon we find ourselves developing a pattern of worry. The imaginations come around more and more often. We start to focus on the body language and voice tones of the people we are afraid of, and begin to read things into them that may not even be there. We eventually respond outwardly and negatively toward those we fear, for instance: hostility or simple avoidance of them.
As the fear of man progresses, it tends to affect all our relationships. We expect to be rejected by others, and begin to exhibit that fear of rejection to a widening circle of our acquaintance.
The fear we feed on will become reality because fear is the opposite of faith. Faith is a seed that will grow into reality, so will fear. Faith is of God, while Fear is of Devils. Devils always imitate God. (Read also our article on: Fearless Children of God). Thus, Fear is magnetic; it changes the unseen spiritual realm which in turn changes the natural realm of the world we live in. You will not only live the way you fear but you’ll also orchestrate the fear scenario into reality.
Job 3:25 – for the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
The power of fear can produce things that he didn’t desire simply because Job gave place to fear in his life. Instead of faith, which is to depend and believe in God, he depended on his own effort to feed the fear in him. The spirit of fear is always characterized by torment, snare and captivity (demanding!) It not only hinders us from living the emotionally healthy lifestyle that is our inheritance as children of God, but also it becomes a stumbling block to us being effective and productive in God’s kingdom.
I had to deal with the fear of man in my own early life. I did not initially recognize what it was. I thought I was having problems with people being critical of me (and some were), and I thought people were attempting to intimidate me (and some were), but what I did not realize, until the Lord began to speak to me about it, was that the problems I was encountering were only symptoms of the deeper problem — the fear of man in me.
My experience as a teen, when I was asked to speak before hundreds of students, my face muscle would clench up (Fear of Public Speaking – Laliophobia). My experience in preaching – when someone was leaving the church, I was affected mentally “was that because of what I just said?” In fact, the person was only going to the toilet….
There is no such thing as healthy fear. By the way, the Fear of God in the New Testament is not the kind of slavish fear of rattle snake, but the idea of living in respect, in awe, and in submission to God (Jesus Himself translated Fear of God as “Worship of God” in Mat 4:10 and Luk 4:8 ; which was actually directly translated from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 6:13). There is no such thing as a middle way. God’s way is the only way. Fear is not an option!
Proverbs 29:25 (AMP) The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.
The word “safe” is from the verb śāgab, = “to be inaccessibly high or to be exalted.” Security in the Lord removes intimidation by man. “Snare” is an instrument for catching animals, Anything by which one is entangled & put in trouble, or bringing in unexpected evil, perplexity or danger.
Moses was said to be the greatest man in Israel, he brought out from Egyptian captivity about 2.5 million Israelites, yet the people murmured at him. At some points, he was devastated. Because that is the fallen nature of human being, criticism cannot be avoided.
Question: If criticism cannot be avoided, we must learn to deal with it, right? No! The way to deal with Criticism is Not to deal with it at all. It is the highest form of reaction.
In my teenage time, I used to receive prank calls. Someone would say something dirty or threatening to me over the phone and then hanged up. And, the more I entertained it, the more frequent the calls came. Eventually, I learnt that prank callers are losers who dared not come face to face, so I started to hang up the phone even before the prank caller can utter another word. The calls eventually ceased because I stopped entertaining it.
If you received criticisms, don’t meditate on it – such as “he said I…., then they also mentioned that I……do you think that I….” Meditating on criticisms is the same as making the seed of fear grow and become reality. Our focus is : we are already pleasing to God, we are the apple of God’s eyes, we are precious Children of God; So why bother with our time and effort of man’s criticisms. The dog is barking at the moon, the moon does not talk back, keep shining and still shining; in time soon the dog will be tired of barking.
Criticism is not from God, as God never criticize us, in fact, we are so precious that God is willing to die for us. When we are being criticized and we don’t react adversely, we are sowing into the Kingdom. God is glorified. It shows that we know our status, we are king and priest, precious child of God. These people who criticize, would not die for us, but Jesus Christ the son of God had died for us and gave His life for us. Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
A real story of a woman who was gun-pointed by a robber, demanding her to open the door of her car. At the spur of seconds, fears were running down her spine, she was stunned and about to do what was demanded of her by the robber. But then, suddenly the Holy Spirit reminded her “I am a child of God, the King of Universe, who does he think he is to threaten me?” With courage mustered up in her, she pushed him away and locked the car door, and walked off, totally disregarding the man. Instead of causing fury, the robber was caught in confusion, he backed off because he did not know what to do. She walked into the shopping mall nearby, unharmed. All the time while walking out of the car, she was thinking to herself, better to be shot in this place where many by-standers and people on the street could help her, rather than being kept hostage in her own car, probably raped, tortured, robbed and killed. She later identified the man with the police escorts and napped the man.
How I overcome the fear of preaching? I now look to God when preaching and not for man’s acceptance; anyway it is not my performance, it is His time, His way, and His performance! When I preach, I am not there to gain popularity, I am only a donkey who carries Jesus, I preach His word, any popularity or criticism belong to Him; and God knows what the people need to hear.
Know that people’s adverse behaviors is more about their hearts than it is about us, so do not take their rejections or mistreatment personal. Most of the time, when we fear what others are thinking or speaking negatively of us, actually: they are just dealing with their own problems. God is love, we walk in agreement with God, and we deal with others in love.
Instead of meditating on fears, meditate what the Bible says about the fear of man and how we are to respond to it:
Proverbs 29:25 — The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Psalm 56:11 — In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid of what man can do unto me.
Hebrews 13:6 — So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Psalm 118:6 – The Lord is on my side; I will not fear; what can man do unto me?
Deuteronomy 1:17 – Ye shall not be afraid of the face of man.
LET ME PRAY FOR YOU
I proclaim that your faith is in God who has made every provision available to you to live an abundant life in Christ Jesus. You shall rest in God knowing that His Grace is enough. You shall walk in agreement with God believing in His promises.
In the name of Jesus, you tormenting demons, I dislodge you from these people’s minds and I command your power to be broken once and for all. I declare these people are free from the bondage of fear; they are free from captivity, free from any emotional traps and torments, protected by the ministering angels of God, who keep in all our ways.
God has given the gifts of spiritual blessings; you are now anointed to be used boldly by God. Go forth with courage. For you do not seek the approval of men, what can mere men do to you? In all that you do, God is glorified. You are now free to be loved and to love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.