Is your fear man-directed or God-directed? Your answer to that will determine most of the choices you make, the words you say, and the priorities of your life. As one author said, “Fear that does not take you to God, will take you away from God.” So ask yourself the question of the day: “Who do you fear?”
Throughout the Bible, there is a contrast between the fear of man and the fear of God. The fear of man will keep you from speaking up for God while the fear of God will give you courage to speak up. The fear of man will paralyze you from living a separated Christian life while the fear of God will lead you to cut ties with the godless world system and pursue Christ. The fear of man will enslave you to the peer pressure surrounding you while the fear of God will liberate you to put your hand to the plow in service to Christ and never look back.
In John 7, we are reminded of the division that Christ brings among mankind. As Jesus continued His public ministry, there formed a sharp division between those who opposed Christ and those who supported Christ. Among those who opposed Christ were the Jewish religious leaders of the day who saw Christ as an enemy and sought to kill him. When it came time for the weeklong celebration known as the Feast of Tabernacles, Christ did not go up with the large procession of travelers on their way to Jerusalem. Rather, Christ went in secret and travelled alone. When the Jews sought Jesus at the Feast (obviously for the purpose of arresting Him and killing Him), there arose a hushed murmuring among the common people regarding Christ. Some thought He was a good man; however, others said He was a deceiver. However, verse 13 says that “no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” The fear of the religious leaders silenced the people from speaking openly of Christ. As opposition to Christianity grows in a nation, Satan will strive to keep men silent through the fear of man.
The most radical treatment for the fear of man is to have a healthy dose of the fear of God. When God is seen as small, men appear big. However, when God is seen in all His greatness, the fear of man tends to shrink away. In 2 Chronicles 19 we see a return to the fear of God. After Jehoshaphat was confronted by Jehu the prophet about his unholy alliances, we see Jehoshaphat wisely responding by bringing the people back to the Lord God of their fathers. One way he did this was by appointing God-fearing judges throughout the land (v. 7, 9).
What a difference there would be in our nation, churches, and homes if we would take a healthy dose of the fear of God and cease to be driven by the fear of man!