Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Fear of God vs. The Fear of Man

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe (Proverbs 29:25).

I noticed recently that many of the psalms I have been reading and memorizing speak of the blessing of fearing God: "Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant" (Psalm 34:12-14).

The biggest reason we do not fear the Lord is because we too often fear man more. A few years ago I was both humbled and helped in this by reading Ed Welch's book When People Are Big and God Is Small. A recent post by Justin Taylor reminded me again of its value, and so I am posting the book's basic premise for others. Ed begins by writing: “Fear of man is such a part of our human fabric that we should check for pulse if someone denies it.” Here are the steps to fighting the fear of man that he lays out in his book.
Step 1: Recognize that the fear of man is a major theme both in the Bible and in your own life.

Step 2: Identify where your fear of man has been intensified by people in your past.

Step 3: Identify where your fear of man has been intensified by the assumptions of the world.

Step 4: Understand and grow in the fear of the Lord. The person who fears God will fear nothing else.

Step 5: Examine where your desires have been too big. When we fear people, people are big, our desires are even bigger, and God is small.

Step 6: Rejoice that God has covered your shame, protected you from danger, and accepted you. He has filled you with love.

Step 7: Need other people less, love other people more. Out of obedience to Christ, and as a response to his love toward you, pursue others in love.
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. (Psalm 118:5-9)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. #7 (Need other people less, love other people more. Out of obedience to Christ, and as a response to his love toward you, pursue others in love.) is my favorite, thanks for the blessing!

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