Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Whom Do You Fear?

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

This verse is always one I would just skip over—b/c seriously what man do I fear? I’m not someone who generally “fears” too many people—I normally get along pretty well with everyone. Nice thought, except that my definition of “fear” is ALL WRONG. In my day to day reading of some blogs, I came across this…

"Being conscious of God's approval or His displeasure is what the Bible calls "fear of the Lord." It means to be in awe of, or to respect, more than merely to be afraid. Conversely, what we now call peer pressure, people-pleasing, or co-dependency is what the Bible calls "fear of man." In a nutshell, the fear of man can either be a fear of what others think of us or will do to us, or a craving for approval and a fear of rejection."

So having “fear” for man instead of God is to be more concerned with man’s approval than God’s. I had to really ponder that question some and ask “what would that look like”? What are the signs of fearing man more than God. And the blog had some helpful suggestions especially concerning single women:

  • Do you change your normal behavior when you are around men you are attracted to?
  • Do you cancel plans because you feel you don't look very good that day?
  • Do you agonize over what to wear to an event?
  • Are you defensive when criticized, no matter how little or great the criticism?
  • Are you easily embarrassed? Do you find it hard to laugh at yourself?
  • Are you jealous of other people, their possessions, or their relationships?
  • Do you have trouble saying no to people when your resources (time, finances, health) are already maxed out?
  • Do you avoid some people?
  • Do you consistently second-guess your decisions?
  • Are you afraid of airing your true opinion about a decision?
  • Do you embellish certain stories or exaggerate the truth to make you look a little better than reality? Conversely, do you issue lots of little white lies?
  • Will you compromise standards of modesty or purity because you want to seem relevant or stylish?
  • Do you decline dates because you think others will not like or be impressed with the man who has asked you out?

Some of these were a very easy “no way”, but some I had to really struggle with. For one, the “are you jealous of other people, their possessions, or their relationships”. I remember some conversations with a very close friend in which I was upset over why God would bless someone else, BEFORE me…as if there was a limit to God’s blessings and He arbitrarily handed it to someone else and then ran out when He got to me. Instead of being happy for that person, I was upset and quite honestly jealous over their blessings. WRONG!!!!

And trust me, there are others on this list that I know I have done in past years (sometimes even past months). So—it is fairly clear that I have become trapped in the snare of fearing man more than God. Ok…so I’ve been honest and admitted that I’ve been trapped before, but how do I keep from falling into that trap over and over again?

This quote says it all:
The most radical treatment for the fear of man is the fear of the Lord. God must be bigger to you than people are.... Regarding other people, our problem is that we need them (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God). The task God sets for us is to need them less and love them more.

I need to learn to need God more and the only way I can do that is to continue to learn more and more about Him and his character. So, I have added another thing on my list in my pursuit to be a Godly woman…fear man less and love God more!! As I Peter 3:3-4 says, “Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." That’s my goal!!!

So--to my girls in small group--who are you fearing? And be honest? I just was!!!


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