Listen to a recording of the article, “The secret to overcoming”
What is fear of man?
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, a wall-flower or the life of the party, or anywhere in-between, fear of man has its hooks in all of us. It shows itself in many different ways:
- Need for approval/fear of disapproval
- Need for acceptance
- Need for honor
- Need for recognition
- Fear of criticism
- Fear of humiliation
These things can lead us to:
- Second-guess our decisions
- Become timid when we should be bold
- Be disobedient to God
- Have poor self-confidence
- Judge our self-worth by other people
- Be inactive
- Not be ourselves
- Unstable faith
Fear of man – the great crippler
Fear of man can be one of the greatest road-blocks to serving the Lord. Most of us have it deeply rooted in our natures. It shows itself in different ways in different personalities, but it’s there.
It can actually become like a form of slavery! It can be especially binding with people on whom I especially want to make a good impression. Some people will even change and adapt according to what they think people want to see in them. It can get to the point where I become a virtual “shape-shifter,” changing my opinions, personality, etc. according to who I am with. That’s not the glorious freedom that is in Christ!
I can be so bound by it that I am blind to what is truly important.
How can I be fully obedient to God’s Word if I am concerned with what other people will think if I am? How can I honor Him with my life? How can I receive any honor from Him? (John 12:26)
What can people’s words and thoughts about me really do to me? Cause some awkwardness, maybe some humiliation, and for sure some uncomfortable moments. In short, my pride, my ego, is hurt. But the truth is that I need my pride and egotism to be, so that I can concentrate on becoming like Jesus who is gentle and lowly of heart, and at the same time, zealous for the Lord!
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. To be able to stand before God’s face is worth so much more than any honor from people. Then I become grounded, steadfast, and immoveable.
Read more: 4 undeniable truths about Jesus
How can I overcome fear of man?
The first important thing that I need to do in order to overcome is acknowledge that I have fear of man.
I need to seek such a deep love for Jesus that I fearagainst Him – so that what becomes most important is to please and honor Him.
Then, step-by-step I make the choices to do and be free to act in obedience to the faith, instead of according to the approval mycraves. I pray for help and strength to overcome the thoughts of “What do they think?” and stand on the Word of God as my weapon. Slowly but surely my thoughts will be trained away from being bound by wanting honor from people to serving the living God. Then I will experience freedom!
To overcome it I need to go through it. I need to be obedient despite my fears. God will give me all the power to do what I know I am not capable of by myself. I have to go in faith – trust in God that He will get me through the situation where I feel afraid or stupid, lack boldness, feel timid, etc. If I take a step even when I don’t feel like it then God will give me the power.
Whatever people think of me, I have to deal with thein my own flesh. I have to meet the pride, ego, resentment, timidity, or whatever it is in myself that is stopping me from serving God as fully as I should be, and overcome it. This is to share with Christ in the of His sufferings. All of His life Jesus came up against people who disagreed with Him, despised Him, and looked down on Him. But He didn’t let any of this stop Him from doing the work that He was on earth to do. He humbled Himself and overcame whatever in Him came up in resistance to God’s will. If we follow Him and do the same, just as the apostles have done, we will be in glorious company!
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:2-3.
Verses to use as weapons when we’re tempted to fear of man:
“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.
“In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
“The voice said, ‘Cry out!’ And he said, ‘What shall I cry?’ ‘All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.'” Isaiah 40:6-8.
“And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’” Luke 4:8.
“The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25.
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12–13.
“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:14.
“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by yourin the world.” 1 Peter 5:9.
Interested in reading more? These articles are very helpful for overcoming fear of man:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.