‘Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe’ (PV 29:25)
All men are divided in just two categories: the cowards and the faithful.
The cowards are ensnared and the faithful are free.
The word ‘snare’ in Hebrew means a hidden trap in the valley, in the forest, to catch the animals. The victim is pursued, caught and possessed by the hunter. With time, the victim becomes ‘an apprentice’ to the hunter and the circle of deception and violence increases. If this snare entangles your soul and you cannot move on, you cannot experience true peace or prosperity.
The cowards fear men and all created things. They fear many things: poverty, visibility, rebuke, suffering, loneliness, rejection, the future…
One thing all cowards have in common is that they do not fear God enough! The fear of men overpowers their fear of God.
Practical advice: all your relationships should be placed on the altar of God, in the light. There should be nothing to be ashamed of. All your friends should be free to come and go from your presence, as they please. No person should manipulate your emotions or make you feel guilty for being a friend. Your friends’ opinions should not lead you. Your circle of friends should not be ‘a secret society’. Each person should retain the freedom to continue or to dis-continue the relationship. Christ should be the Center and the Leader. All your decisions, counsels and discussions should give glory to God.
If your respect and love your friends more than you desire to witness for Christ, then you are trapped in a snare; spiritually you are trapped in a bondage. All gossips, all manipulations, all slander, all flatteries and worldliness between friends is a snare and a hindrance to freedom and prosperity. Simply said, if you fear or worship men, you will never prosper!
The faithful are the ones who fear God and trust in Him 100%. They are kept ‘safe’. This word means more than just protection; it means to be promoted, to be prosperous, to be exalted on high, to live on a blessed mountain that is inaccessible to your enemies. It also means to have an excellent spirit that freely moves on without any hindrance.
Some amount of fear of man is acceptable. For example we are commanded to be wise as the serpents. It means to fear unnecessary exposure and withdraw from the wild crowds. We are to be careful to avoid men who reject the Gospel, not throwing ‘pearls to pigs’. But apart from these few examples, fear of man is sinful.
We are to be pro-active in our relationships with people, trusting the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The fear of men affects our preaching, our witnessing for Christ. I heard of soldiers who are very courageous in battle but withdraw and become ashamed when talking to others about their faith.
What is the cure for the fear of man?
*Remember who God is! God is the Creator of all things. God is the Creator of all men. God holds the very breath of the man you fear. I am a fool if I fear man more than God!
*Remember who man is! Man is just a vapor, a shadow, a worm and dust on the floor. Man may brag but he is nothing without God. Man may intimidate with his beauty and success, but man can do nothing without God’s permission.
*Remember: All men are under the control of the Holy Spirit. No matter the threats and the slander, no man can move without God. Pilate thought that he has the power to kill or save Christ. But that power was given to him by God and for His purpose.
*Remember: no temptation is greater than the endurance provided by God, if you just believe.
*Remember: suffering, persecution and rejection is not as bad as the devil wants you to imagine. If God allows that pain, it means that it will eventually be a blessing to you and benefit your soul.
A personal note: each time I meet a new person, I declare ‘my stand’ for Jesus from the very beginning. I preach the Gospel to all men that come close enough to hear my words. I do not want them to say that they have been deceived by me, by my silence! I do not waste time in declaring my stand for Jesus!
When confronted with the Word of God, men will react in three ways:
*they get angry and leave;
*they mock me and leave;
*they listen, believe and get saved.
It is not for me to decide what my listeners should do. Of course, I tell them that the best is to believe, but if they chose another way, I too I am prepared. I do not get disappointed or depressed in the face of rejection. I do not fear their words, their body language or mocking laughter. I do not ‘beg’ people to accept Christ or be my friends. Both Christ and my friendship are more than gold and they are the ones who miss it. Anyway, no one can be my friend if that person is not a faithful humble obedient disciple of Christ. I please God and if I have to, I am ready to dis-please men. But for anyone who listens to the words of life from my mouth, and comes to Jesus to be saved, there is much rejoicing in heaven, on earth and in my soul.