Fear of Man

When you say or write "the fear of man," it sounds so extreme, serious and somewhat far removed from our every day lives. I don't know how many of us who would readily admit that we "fear man." Not because we are ashamed to make that admission, but perhaps that phrase really does not register with us due to a lack of awareness or understanding. I mean, it's not like most of us are walking around literally petrified of "man." 

Now having said that, please hear this. In no way am I minimizing or making light or fun of those who do live with debilitating fear or in a near constant state of panic. It is real and I am very sorry for your suffering. The reality is this, we all have varying degrees and levels of psychological, emotional, mental health issues, problems, disorders, traumas and the likes. There is a level of brokenness in all of us. Because of our humanity, the impact of sin and living in a broken world. But there is hope. 

I wholeheartedly believe we can experience healing and freedom here on this earth. However, it is also true that we have yet to experience the fullness of all Jesus has redeemed for us. So I eagerly look forward to the day when all things will be made right and complete when Jesus returns. And as I wait, I want to increasingly grow in Christlikeness in mind, heart, spirit and action. 

The more I consider and think about "the fear of man," I believe many of us struggle or deal with it but to varying degrees, myself included. If we pause and intentionally "listen" to our "narrative" or watch our actions, we may see the "fear of man.” We may just be unaware. 

The fear of man can go undetected at times because it shows itself in subtle but profound ways in our life and decisions. If we all stopped and really considered why we do what we do, perhaps we can see the different ways we are not living fully free. There is a level of "fear of man" laced throughout that drives or in part influences what we do, do not do, say or do not say, how we do things, and why we do things. 

Sometimes we mask it or we hide behind justifications. Or we rationalize with statements such as, "it's my personality" or "I'm a perfectionist," and the likes. But perhaps the truth of the matter is, we actually fear being judged. Or thought less of, found or thought to be incompetent and inadequate. 

We compare and envy. We spend more time or money on something or a project than we would like or generally do so because we want to impress or give a certain perception. We subconsciously want people to love it (love us), praise us, and think we're awesome. Some of us just don't want people to think we suck. Or worst, labeled a fraud. And if left unchecked over time, we may find ourselves feeling trapped or stuck. 

We strive, struggle, reach and fight only to run ourselves ragged. We crash and burn. Or burnout. We abandon and walk away all together. And even more detrimental, we blame God. That’s not God’s design. That’s not living in his love and approval. 

Yes, we are called to live in peace and loving Christ-likeness community and fellowship with one another, (considering others, living selflessly and sacrificially). But there is a big difference between living in harmony and unity versus living from a place of performance and fear. Only God can judge the heart of a man or women because he alone knows our thoughts and motives. Friend, intentions and motives matter. Let's make sure our intention and motives line up with our practice. 

So how about you? Are you overwhelmed, unhappy, constantly feeling pressured and internally conflicted, trapped, or that your life does not feel like it’s your own but ruled and driven by the opinions of others? If so, there’s hope. There’s a way out. 

Prayerfully take inventory of your life, habits, thoughts and decisions. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the areas that is not under his lordship but rather the fear of man. Be brave and do the uncomfortable heart work. God is faithful to supply the grace we need. We are called to live in freedom. Freely and completely be who God has designed us to be. 

The fear of mankind is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected. 
Proverbs 29:25


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