The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
Fear can be a powerful motivator and demotivator in our lives. Fear can motivate us to do things we normally wouldn’t do and probably know we shouldn’t do. Fear can also demotivate us and keep us from doing things we normally would do and probably know we should do. This is the reason that peer pressure is so powerful.
Far too often, we as believers let fear keep us from using our spiritual gifts and doing the things Jesus wants us to do. We let fear of ridicule, criticism, embarrassment and opposition keep us from faithfully serving Jesus and sharing His Gospel with others. No one likes to admit that they’ve let fear control them and prevent them from being faithful to Jesus. However if we were all very honest we could look down over our lives and see definite instances of when this was true.
This is not supposed to be the way we live and serve Jesus. We are not to let the fear of man become a snare the keeps us from doing all the things that Jesus wants us to do. We are to courageously serve Jesus and share His Gospel even when we know that doing so will not be popular and may well bring ridicule, criticism, embarrassment and opposition into our lives. We are not to let fear of these things keep us from faithfully serving Jesus and sharing His Gospel.
Paul tells us that the fear of these things is not from God. The word that is translated as fear here could also be translated as timidity. God has not given us a spirit that makes us too timid to faithfully serve Jesus and share His Gospel. This is so very important. The fear that wells up within us and seeks to keep us from faithfully serving Jesus and sharing His Gospel does not come from God. Instead this fear comes from one of three places, the world, the flesh or the devil.
The world refers to the organized system in that is in opposition and rebellion against God. It is the morally and spiritually corrupt system that opposes Jesus and His reign.
The flesh basically refers to our sinful nature. It is something that every human on the planet has. The Bible teaches that before a person is redeemed by Jesus the flesh dominates and controls them. The Bible also teaches us that after we have been redeemed by Jesus we will have to fight against the flesh as long as we live in this life. The flesh is the part in each of us that opposes and rebels against Jesus’ rule in our lives. This means that any time we have a God given desire in our lives there will be a part of us that seeks to keep us from following through with this desire.
The devil refers to a real being of absolute evil that hates God, hates those who are made in His image and hates all that have been redeemed by Jesus. Satan was created by God to worship and serve God. Instead Satan became proud and wanted to be worshipped instead of God and so he led a rebellion against God. The rebellion failed and Satan was cast out of heaven and onto the earth. The Bible tells us that Satan lives on the earth and is filled with great anger because he knows his time is short (Rev 12:12). Satan has been actively involved in inciting and tempting mankind to rebel against God’s rule since he tempted our first parents in the Garden of Eden.
These three enemies work together to prevent us from faithfully serving Jesus and sharing His Gospel. One of the ways they will do this is by making us so afraid of ridicule, criticism, embarrassment and opposition that we keep from doing anything that may bring these things into our lives. When we let fear keep us from faithfully serving Jesus or sharing His Gospel we are surrendering to the desires of the world, the flesh or the devil.
So how do we courageously and faithfully serve Jesus and share His Gospel when there is so much opposition that wants to keep us from doing this? The rest of this verse gives us the answer to this question and that is what I’m going to write about tomorrow.
In what ways has the fear of man been a share to you?
How do you see the world, the flesh or the devil at work in this?
In what ways does it encourage you to know that the spirit of fear and timidity is not from God?