Remedy for the Fear of Man Eph 5:21 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In this lesson we are going to look in the Bible for a remedy for the fear of man. I will tell you very simply what it is and then we will illustrate this since you have seen it in your own life or in the lives of others close to you.
The remedy for the fear of man is the fear of God. Eph 5:21 says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Yet, when you think about it, most of us submit ourselves to one another in the fear of man!! Truly the remedy for the fear of man is the fear of God.
When you fear God, you are more concerned with pleasing him than you are with pleasing anyone else. He will be preeminent in your mind and in your heart. You will concern yourself with the truth of his words. You will be certain that whatever decision you make or whatever action you take is correct according to the Bible even if your decision or your action is not popular with other people. This is how Jesus conducted himself through his entire life and ministry. He never concerned himself with the reaction of others before he spoke. He only concerned himself with his Father.
When you fear man, you are more concerned about pleasing man than you are about pleasing God. Your first thought or reaction takes into consideration the person or people you are trying to please. It is your principal objective to make them feel good about you, to avoid losing their friendship, to prevent retaliation or to escape ridicule. For instance, if your spouse or your child or your friend does something contrary to the word of God, you might not rebuke them because they would feel bad or they might retaliate against you. But you can’t forget that the Bible says, “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
You may be thinking, “I don’t fear man.” I beg to differ. Have you ever found it hard to tell someone “No?” The difficulty with saying “No” comes from the fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. That fear stems from the fear of man. Often, when you refuse to say “No,” you find yourself drawn into a situation or a commitment that you really don’t want to be in. And from here things become more complicated as you stress over ways to get out the situation and to think up excuses and lies.
You must find a better way and that better way is to fear God. When you fear God, before you make any decision or give any response that affects others, you will see where God stands on the matter. You will find where he stands in the Bible. If you always fear God, stand on his truth and act on that truth, you will always be right and you can trust God to bless your decision, response or action as it concerns others. Like David said in Ps 56:11, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Do you see how fearing God causes you to trust him? And how trusting God causes you to not be afraid of man?
If you will look honestly at any relationship in your life right now that is distressed you are more than likely going to find yourself in the fear of man. You lie awake stressing over the other person’s feelings. You are thinking about what you can do to fix them or what you can say to lessen the tension. Perhaps you are thinking about something you can to do make them feel better. Rather than waste time with all of that why don’t you go back in time and look for the very first decision you made or response you gave that has now resulted in this stress.
You made that first decision from the fear of man and because of that you opened the way for all of this other trouble you have been dealing with. When the person with whom your relationship is stressed did something or said something out of line with the word of God you should have responded in the fear of God and addressed them right then and there with the truth. But you didn’t. Your first thought was to take their feelings and your friendship into consideration. You probably thought to yourself, “If I do that or say this then he or she will get mad.”
As a result, their problem has become your problem. They sinned or misbehaved and you let it slide. Now you are stressing and feeling bad because of something they did!! So, you are thinking that you need to do something or say something to keep them from sinning again or to repair the damage that they caused or to help them deal with the consequences of their sin.
You know where this kind of thinking and these kinds of actions lead. You end up doing something or saying something so that whatever is bothering you about what they did or said won’t bother you anymore and they won’t do it anymore. And by doing this, you have inadvertently made yourself part of the problem. Now, if what you are doing or saying doesn’t solve the problem, they have someone else besides themselves to blame!!
The fear of man is the problem that underlies this whole mess and you need to see that. When you fear a person that you try to help by making them feel better after they have sinned, they will never deal with their sin and you may end up sinning in your desperation to help. You can get to the point where you are so messed up that you will choose sin just to make yourself feel better. That’s sick. The harder you try the sicker you get.
Break this vicious cycle. Admit that you are afraid of man. And turn to the Lord in the fear of God. You ask, “What good would that do?” When the fear of man subsides enough for you to perceive God’s leadership, he will show you from the scriptures what to do and he will give you the wisdom to do it. Haven’t you read Prov 1:7? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” As soon as you fear the Lord, he will give you the knowledge to see right to the root of the problem. Then Prov 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” He will give you the wisdom to get the root out and to keep it from happening again.
To get over the fear of man, you must get God on your side. And for God to be on your side, you must be on His side!! You get there by fearing God, standing on his word and acting on what he said. Then the next time you are facing a scary decision, immediately pray and in the fear of God respond. Then, as Heb 13:6 says, you will be able to say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”