I made my kid throw a boot at a spider because I was afraid to go near it. I hate ferris wheels for fear I will fall out. And tornado sirens make me stop in my tracks. All of us are afraid of something. But I’m guessing if I asked you your biggest fear, you wouldn’t automatically respond, “People!” even though it’s the most dangerous fear there is.
Deep down we are approval seekers. It’s the reason I check how many people like a post on social media, or why I change my outfit three times before going out. We want to be liked, approved of, accepted. The question is, by whom?
The Bible clearly states we have two options, we can fear other people, or we can fear the Lord– meaning we can live for the approval of others or live for the Lord.
Our choice determines if we live ensnared or set free.
Proverbs 29:25 warns that “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe”. That word “snare” in original Hebrew is “yaqosh or moqesh” which means a noose or hook to snare, catch, or trap animals.
Let me tell you, I have lived snared. I have let others’ opinions drag me down into negativity, tie me up in anxiety, and gag me in fear to put myself out there in faith. Being afraid I won’t measure up to this world’s standards has kept me stressed and overwhelmed instead of living like an empowered child of God.
Fear of man keeps us focused on man’s unattainable agenda instead of God’s will. But what is it that God cares about? What does it look like to “fear the Lord?”
I found the answer in the Old Testament. After the Israelites had worshiped man made objects instead of the one true God, they needed a new direction.
Moses told them, “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” (Deuteronomy 10: 12-13 NIV)
Fearing the Lord instead of man looks a lot like walking daily with God. Steering our actions to love God and others. Serving with strength and humility, and following God’s good ways instead of what we think is best. The last line is so important. For our own good.
I used to be afraid to follow God because I didn’t know if I could trust him with my life plan. But God isn’t a mad parent telling their kid to follow, “Because I said so!” He calls us to live close to Him because He wants something good for our lives. Because He is a Father who loves His children. That makes me trust and want to follow Him.
So everyday I try to let go a little. I want to release myself from what I think I should be and hold onto what God says I already am. What we already are. Loved. Chosen. Called. Purposed. Empowered…all in Christ.
We have nothing to prove. No agenda to meet. No earthly standards to live up to. We get to live free and bold knowing God is after our hearts, not our resume.
When we start living on purpose with the Living God, Philippians 2:15-16 says you and I will “shine” like “stars” as we give the good news of Christ to others through our actions. To me, that’s a life worth living.
Let’s talk about this! How have you been stuck in the fear of man? How would living in, and for, God’s love set you free?
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Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R), NIV(R) Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. (R) Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.