As men, I think we struggle more than we would like to admit when it comes to fear, anxiety, and stress. Lord knows we experience these silent assassins in a variety of ways. God knows our struggles, which is why we see the common command of “fear not” in Scripture.
In the book of John, the ministry of Jesus grows with both his fans and his foes. Eventually, the foes begin to publicly shame and threaten those who followed Jesus to the point that we read in 7:13, “for fear…no one spoke openly of him.” This “fear” is something we’re acquainted with on some level. When family, friends, or coworkers begin their Christ bashing, we have a passive tendency to lay low and avoid conflict. Social media can be even harder than dealing with people face to face. Trying to be the reasonable person about an issue on social media can encourage a public digital beating.
Guys, each of us live out of fear of man or fear of God…don’t fool yourself into thinking anything different.
Fear of man almost always involves people pleasing. People pleasers hate conflict and criticism and allow others to boss and often times bully them around. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man lays a snare.” When you fear man, they take the place of God in your life. Your life is spent living to please to avoid them making your life miserable.
The solution to this fear of man is the fear of God. Fear of God means you have a reverence and awe for Him. When the fear of God is our driving force then people pleasing isn’t a desire or high priority, pleasing God is what drives our motives.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”
Fear of man is contagious. When a couple people stop speaking and standing up then that becomes the norm. Fear of God is also contagious. When a couple people start speaking and standing up, they inspire the same kind of courage in others. People are watching you to see which of these your life is marked by so be aware and stay steadfast.
Who’s in your life that models what it looks like to live out of a fear of God? Shoot them a text, thanking them for being a steadfast example to you.
Links in this section are Amazon Affiliate links to books we find helpful
by J.I. Packer
A lifelong pursuit of knowing God should embody the Christian’s existence. According to eminent theologian J.I. Packer, however, Christians have become enchanted by modern skepticism and have joined the “gigantic conspiracy of misdirection” by failing to put first things first. Knowing God aims to redirect our attention to the simple, deep truth that to know God is to love His Word.
Prayer Focus (Lebanon):
Pray for the city of Beirut with the recent explosion. Lebanon is the only Arab state that is not officially Muslim but heavily influenced. The issue is many Christians have emigrated for economic and security reasons. The Christian percentage dropped from 62% in 1970 to 32% in 2010. Pray that many may come to personal faith in and deep commitment to the Lord Jesus. Though most Christians would leave if they had the chance, pray for many to choose to stay and remain salt and light in Lebanon. Check out our missions wall at Westwood to see what missionaries we support that you can pray for.
Bible Study Tip:
Don’t only study small portions of Scripture at a time, but also make it a practice to read big chunks of Scripture in one sitting so as to better keep in mind the larger narrative of the Bible. Rosaria Butterfield writes, “God’s story is our ontology: it explains our nature, our essence, our beginnings and our endings, our qualities, and our attributes. When we daily read our Bibles, in large chunks of whole books at a time, we daily learn that our own story began globally and ontologically” (Openness Unhindered, 3-4). One way to do this is by following a yearly Bible reading plan. There is a 52-week plan available on the resource wall in the foyer at Westwood. Justin Taylor lists several other ways to read the Bible in a year, here.
There is nothing more powerful to overcome temptation than the fear of God.
I was just reminiscing about the beautiful herb garden I had when I was growing up.