Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I am fully aware that I have recently wrote about our approval being in God alone, not men. Here’s the thing: I am just reflecting on what I am reading each day and this topic has come up again. But I will take a different angle on it today. I want to write about something called the “fear of man.” Paul clearly did not have the fear of man present in his life, but many people do. It is something I have had to overcome in my life and I hope that others will overcome it too.
But this overcoming doesn’t just happen by way of trying really hard. It happens by a removal and a replacement. In other words, the “fear of man” needs to be removed and the “approval of God” needs to replace it. This is something that we need to deal with. Paul even goes as far to say that if he was trying to please man, he would not be a servant of Christ. Those are some strong words.
Here’s what the fear of man looks like on someone:
- Can’t say no without feeling guilty
- Afraid of confrontation
- Intimidated easily by others
- Tends to over work and over commit
- Is a name-dropper to enhance personal value
This list really goes on and on. And I really want people to be free from this. Proverbs 29:25 says, Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. The irony here is that people who struggle with this issue feel “safer” by making everyone happy at all costs. In reality, those who trust in the Lord are the ones who are kept safe. Man will let you down every time. Putting your trust there ends up being a snare, a trap. It keeps you from moving forward in the calling God has placed on your life. Why? Because people’s opinions and approval of you matter too much. I am not talking about cutting everyone off from your life. There is a biblical basis for Godly authority, mutual submission, and involvement in the Body of Christ. We need others; they just can’t be our approval. God must be.
Hebrews 13:6 says, So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” I encourage you to tackle this issue today. Ask the Lord, do I struggle with the fear of man? If so, seek the Lord in prayer. Meet with someone you trust and pray together. Ask the Lord to set you free from this stranglehold on your life and start living free in Him today.