A snare is a trap, and by design leaves no way of escape; it completely encircles its victim with no route for flight. A snare is designed by the devil to control the souls of men.
The fear of man paralyses our lives because the priority is trust in the opinion of others, not what God says. The fear of man displaces and brings our Faith to nothing. We end up living our lives for and at the mercy of others, instead of God.
The fear of man would make you voluntarily place the ownership of your life in the hands of another and cause you to alter your behaviour to gain validation, acceptance or affirmation, which leads to a life of misery, stagnancy and slavery.
Fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe (proverbs 29:25).
Fear of man lays a snare and:
- Make us vulnerable and susceptible to control and manipulation.
- Make us say yes when we mean to say no.
- “If we constantly seek to please men, then our lives will be a life of service to men, not God.”
- Make us a psychological hostage to the one being feared.
- Make us suppress anger and unable to handle letting others down.
- Robs us of personal growth and freedom- our walk with the Lord will be stalled because we are consumed by fear and the work of depleting the unpleasant feeling it carries.
- Make us pursue peace on a false premise (doing anything and everything possible to prevent others from being upset)
- Make us over conscientious; we go overboard, engaging in destructive people-pleasing (an insidious form of idolatry) activities, to make an unpredictable outcome of a situation predictable.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Gal 1:10)
Robs us of the soundness of our mind; making us do things we usually wouldn’t do; we become easily intimidated into compliance.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7).
It is certainly not God’s will for any of His children to have their mind, their emotions, their will, and consequently, their Faith, enslaved by the fear of man. God is our Father, and we are to please Him first, not men. We then must see ourselves with eyes of Faith, because of the Cross that validates our relationship with God.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”(Matt 10:28)
“In God, I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?”(Psalm 56:11)
“Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”(2 kings 17:38-39).
Fear (of man)is opposed to Faith (in God)
While fear inspires us to rely on our strength to get things accomplished, Faith enables us to build on Gods own strength. Because, God is Love, and spirit, There is no fear in (Him) Love; And where the spirit of The Lord is, there is “liberty”, freedom, autonomy.
The fear of man make us become physically, mentally, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually malnourished, because we have put our heart, soul and strength into serving others in unhealthy ways; from a place of fear, and obligation. Without taking into account our needs as individuals, we forget our very existence!
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your” strength”(Deuteronomy 6:5)
It is impossible to give that which you lack. When we fail to nourish ourselves, we certainly will give from a place of lack, and exhaustion which ultimately breeds resentment.
“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”(James 1:15)
Jesus is an explicit example of of the word “Selfless”
“But HE often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
He took time outs to get nourishment and strength from the Source.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”(Mark 6:31)
We sometimes believe that because Jesus allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified for us, we should in like manner, be willing to submit ourselves to (purposeless)harsh treatment, (that cannot bring a single soul to repentance or proclaim the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth) that could otherwise, be avoided, if we must be like Him.
Are we then trying to earn his affirmation by our works; by being a martyr, -setting ourselves up? I call this opportunistic martyrdom; born out of pride and self-righteousness, an unassuredness in the finished work of Christ and the assurance in our works to make us esteemed in the eyes of the Father.
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple and said
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.
10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
“Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence”.(Colossians 2:23)
“Yes,” said Jesus, “what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden”(Luke 11:46)
Everything Jesus had to go through was an act of high strength, sacrifice and “Wilful” submission to God. There was a divine purpose to it; To reconcile us back to The Father. He never tried to prove himself. He was satisfied in the esteem He has received in The Father.
“They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink” (Matt 27:34).
“And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.” (Matt 4:2-4)
Jesus didn’t have to submit himself to unnecessary abuse by turning stones into bread or by drinking vinegar to prove his sonship or declare his identity.
We allow ourselves unnecessary heartache, as a result of our self-righteousness, false humility and hypocrisy, influenced by the religious spirit of this dark age.
The sad thing is that today’s culture encourages acceptance and affirmation based on works.
We so desperately want to look good and honourable, even if it means dishonouring God by not taking to account his instructions and having steadfast confidence in what he says.
We care so much about upsetting the people in our lives without caring about how God feels when we prioritise others before him. WHEW!
“We truly have gone astray and have put our confidence in things seen. We have made a Holy, Majestic and Righteous God an option; Second best in our lives. Forgive us, Lord, of the sin of idolatry. Cause our hearts to turn from our evil ways and return to You with singleness of heart in our Love and service for You.” AMEN!
“Do not be over righteous, neither be over wise—why destroy yourself?
Do not be over wicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time?
It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes”(Ecclesiastes 7:16-18).
Jesus was certainly not a “people-pleaser:
- He did not compromise his standards to make everyone like Him at all costs.
- He shunned hypocrisy and self-righteousness.
- He was never afraid to say what He believed.
- He didn’t say “yes” when he wanted to say “no.”
- He was angry but never sinned in His anger.
- He did not cower from speaking and standing for the truth.
- He threw tables over in the temple to defend His Father’s house as a house of prayer.
- He was full of Love and courage- not fear.
“This day, I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Choose today, to live for truth in Awe and Reverence of the only one you should fear- God!