Tag Archives: fear of man

Living in Dread…

I often tell people that whatever we fear is what we serve, so that the object of our fear basically becomes our god. This morning a passage in Isaiah reminded me of that truth.

“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have been false to me, and have neither remembered me nor pondered this in your hearts? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me?  I will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you. When you cry out for help, let your collection [of idols] save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away. But the man who makes me his refuge will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.” (Is.57:11-13).

“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have been false to me…” I’m not sure how much more clear that could be! At the heart of being unfaithful to God is usually a fear of something else (no matter what that something else is, I’d call it an idol). An idol is anything we meditate on, and spend our time trying to appease. For years, I did the dance of fear trying to keep an abusive husband happy so he wouldn’t lash out. I feared him much more than God, and the result was I served him rather than God. In fact, he became my god, because of the way I served him.

Another interesting thing about this passage is “I will expose your righteousness and your works…” Very often people do good works out of fear—they worry what people think and are trying to impress them rather than God. This fear of man is idolatry of the worst sort. It becomes works-based rather than love-based. God does not desire our feeble efforts; he desires our love. From that love, genuine works of righteousness will flow naturally. The ones born of fear of man are wood, hay, and stubble mentioned by Paul in 1 Cor. 3. These works may look wonderful to people, but they cannot stand before the Judge.

This passage should be a wake up call to the people of God. The warning here is not based on actions, but on misplaced fear. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and when we are more worried about pleasing him than people or unpleasant circumstances, that is wisdom. Then we will be like the man who built his house upon the rock in in Matthew 7:24-25. No matter what life brings our way, we can overcome because we know the One we fear is in control and his love casts out sinful fear. We can stand firm knowing he is in charge. Sinful fear dreads losing control, and that is why the Israelites sacrificed to idols. They believed that appeasing them would make things run smoothly, and that if they didn’t sacrifice things would go badly. When we live in fear of man, we have a similar mentality. “If I can just…” everything will be ok. We’re trying to maintain control. Yet, the Lord calls us to leave the control in his hands. That is what the fear of the Lord does. It trusts in his goodness for the outcome, and we have nothing to dread.

Lord, help me never dread anything more than I desire to love and please you. Help me to avoid the trap of misplaced fear. Nothing on this earth is more powerful than you, so I need to reserve my fear for you alone. Yet, it is a different sort of fear than dread. It is honoring you above anything else, and resting in your control rather than trying to be in control. You are worthy of all honor and praise. Nothing on earth can ever cause me to be consumed with fear as long as I am consumed with you. Amen

Take the Shackles Off my Feet!

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10)

Good Morning Sweet Lord! You are everything to me. Let me live in the light of your presence today, and don’t let temporary things overshadow the eternal. I am so grateful to be your child, and know that without You my life would be meaningless and miserable. The very thought makes me shudder, and it makes my heart hurt even more for those who don’t know You. Help me to shine for You today, and to love people in a way that makes them want to know You. Forgive the times I go about working for my kingdom instead of yours. In my busyness and preoccupation with worldly matters, please don’t ever let me be a hindrance to the Gospel. Give me eyes to see and a sensitive heart to reach out to a lost and dying world.

This morning Lord, I ask You for wisdom. In spite of all my attempts to order my life and time, there are constant interruptions and unexpected things that completely change the order of the day. Help me see those as from You rather than irritating hindrances to my plans. You are sovereign over it all, and so I ask that when the unexpected occurs, You help me be wise and sensitive to your Spirit. I give You this day, and ask for wisdom and grace to represent You well. Amen

Little One, you know I promise wisdom to those who ask in faith (Jas. 1:5-6).  Run to Me, and honor Me above all else. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Pr. 9:10) and that means that as you make my kingdom purposes your priority you will be wise. When you care more about my agenda than yours, or any others person’s that is wisdom. Do not worry about the approval of people, but live to please Me. It is a rare occasion when it is possible to do both (Gal. 1:10). Just as it is not possible to serve God and Mammon, it is not possible to live in complete abandon to Me and still please people. You will serve people, but that does not mean you allow them to control you. Fear of man is a snare (Pr. 29:25). When you worry about what people think, you become enslaved to their opinions and are no longer free to serve Me. You have let negativity from others stop the flow of my Spirit in your life. You think that they have put roadblocks in your path, but they have no power over my plans for you. Trust Me! Serve Me! Seek opportunities to minister day-by-day and moment-by-moment. Do not worry about people, and let Me guide you in the way you should go. You will hear my voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it” (Is. 30:21). You cannot hear that voice if you are worried about the opinions of people. You know Me, and you know My Word. You have my Spirit, so walk in it. I have provided all you need for life and godliness. You have my very nature (1 Pet. 1:3-4), so do not allow anyone to hinder what I have called you to do. Keep your eyes on Me, and find your strength in quietness and trust (Is. 30:15). There is no need for you to strive. I have it all in my hands, and am faithful to complete what I have planned for your life (Ph. 1:6). Rest in that knowledge and you will have wisdom that the world cannot comprehend.