Fear No Man

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  • April 11, 2009
fearnoman

Many Christians are in bondage to the fear of man. In discussing this very real and widespread problem, let us acknowledge from the beginning that we cannot be God’s spokesperson and be afraid of people. We will find it difficult, if not impossible to faithfully give all the counsel of God when there is a spirit within us that withdraws from people out of fear, timidity, or anxiety.

If there has ever been a time in your life when you bowed down and said, “Lord use me, speak through me, have Your Will through me,” then you can expect that the Lord will immediately begin to deal with you regarding the fear of man. It is a fundamental lesson we must learn in order to be fruitful and faithful with all God commits to us.

Let us get right to the point: we are afraid of others because we love ourselves too much. When you have dealt with self-love, the fear of man will be dealt with at the same time. The fear of man is but a symptom of self-love, and is manifest in three basic areas of our relationships with others. If a servant of God is able to overcome in these three areas, he or she will be free of the fear of man. They are: desire for appreciation, desire for compensation, and desire for promotion. We will look at each one individually.

DESIRE FOR APPRECIATION

Multitudes of saints fall at this point. We want others to understand us. We want them to comprehend the meaning behind our actions. We want them to grasp what we are saying. We cannot bear the thought of being misunderstood. We wish for others to appreciate the truth we speak, the word we bring, the insight we have.

The flesh is clothed in such a desire, and it will be a snare to the one who speaks the Word of God. We cannot be afraid of other people, what they will think, how they react, if we do and say what we are led of the Spirit to do and say. Fear of man will cause us to utter many words in addition to those given to us by God. This must be avoided at all costs.

When Jesus spoke to the multitude, He did not glory in how large the crowd was. He did not congratulate Himself on having such an influential ministry. Instead, He sought to thin the numbers out by sifting them with a difficult word, saying, “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood if you wish to be my disciples.” At this saying, the multitude and many of His disciples turned aside and no longer followed Him. Instead of running after them in an effort to make Himself understood and accepted, He watched them go. Then, turning to the Twelve, He said, “Will you also go away?” Here is a Man who is not afraid to be misunderstood because He is not afraid of people, what they will think, or what they will say about Him unjustly.

WE can discern His meaning, but THEY could not. Why did He not explain what He meant? Because He had no love for Himself, no desire to be understood. He only called for those who had ears to hear. He spoke the Word and allowed the hearers to exercise their own judgment and spiritual discernment. He had no desire to be appreciated or accepted. He would not have them accept HIM while rejecting the WORD He brought. If they rejected His Word, they rejected Him.

To overcome the fear of man, we must not only be willing to be misunderstood and unappreciated, we should expect it. Then we will be free to speak what God has given us and will not be troubled should others fail to grasp the significance of it.

DESIRE FOR COMPENSATION

When we are bringing the Word of God to the people who are supporting us materially it represents an inherent conflict of interest. The temptation is to tone down the Word for fear that we will offend those who are taking care of us.

The compensation received may not be limited to financial things. When our friends hold a special place in our heart we are likewise tempted to speak softly to them to keep the friendship intact, whereas an identical word to someone we do not know will not be as soft. If God bids us to speak softly, then let us do so. But we cannot speak softly to those we have a relationship when the word we bring them should be anything but soft.

Again, self-love is the problem. For example, a pastor who is dependent upon his congregation for his salary is going to have a difficult time bringing them the whole counsel of God. Not that he cannot preach, but there is an invisible line he dare not cross for fear that too many will be upset. Invariably if this line is crossed you will find him sweating and fretting over it. Perhaps he will make some calls and offer apologies to the offended ones. He is overcome with the fear of man, because he looks to man for his support. Every utterance and action must be filtered through the question of, “What will our supporters think?”

To overcome the fear of man, we must not look to man for our support, be it financial or emotional. Abram rejected the gifts of the King of Sodom, and afterwards the Lord said to him, “Fear not, for I AM your exceeding great reward.” Since the Lord is our Provider as well as our Provision, we must look to Him alone. We do not look to gain supporters, partners, pledges, tithes, and offerings. If we do not have something it is because we do not need it. For when we need it, God will provide it. Certainly He will USE other people to bless us, but we do not LOOK to people to be blessed. In fact, we should expect that people will not want to support us. Then we can minister to them without fear of man.

DESIRE FOR PROMOTION

We who work for the Lord often wish to be seen and to be heard. We wish the largest audience possible. Naturally we want people to speak well of us and promote us that many more will hear the Word we have from God. Hidden within such a desire for promotion is the fear of man.

I once discovered another ministry had taken a portion of my writing and edited it before forwarding it to their subscribers. In eliminating the more offensive portions of the text they watered-down the message I was communicating. I contacted the ministry and asked them to either publish the entire message or retract it completely. Since they could not bear the whole counsel of God they informed me that they would retract it. Their closing comment was, “Most writers are happy to have even a portion of their works published, as some promotion is better than none at all.”

Our desire for promotion will inevitably lead us to compromise, tone down, whitewash, filter, edit, distort, or make more palatable the message we bring. If we are promoting ourselves, then let us do all we can to push our names to the top and be pleased with any recognition we may receive. But if it is God’s Word we speak, let God see to the promotion of His Word as well as His servant. Better to have a small circle of influence with freedom to speak as we are led to speak than to have a large circle of influence obtained through a message deemed “safe for public consumption”.

In order to rid us of the fear of man, the Lord will prepare a path for us strewn with misunderstanding. Finances will dry up. We will be placed on a shelf for many days, until we no longer look to people as our source. To overcome the fear of man we must be wholly GOD’S and no one else’s. A man or a woman who does not need to be appreciated or understood; who does not desire compensation, material or otherwise; who does not desire a large ministry but a faithful one; this individual is free to be the SERVANT of all without being ENSLAVED to all.

May God quicken this to our hearts that we may fear no man.

About Chip Brogden

Chip and his wife, Karla, left the religious system in 1999 to serve those who are following Jesus outside of Organized Religion. Today, The School of Christ reaches more than 135 nations with a simple, consistent, and Christ-centered message.

18 Comments

  • Shelly says:

    Thank you!

  • JC says:

    This was very helpful.. Thanks for sharing these words!!!!

    God Bless You All!!

  • matt says:

    inspirational may God bless you

  • Naveed says:

    Hi there, I’m a muslim and love your article. It’s a very honest and unbiased account of tackling ones fear of man! God bless.

  • Valerie says:

    “In order to rid us of the fear of man, the Lord will prepare a path for us strewn with misunderstanding. Finances will dry up. We will be placed on a shelf for many days, until we no longer look to people as our source.”

    I think this has been my story for years, as opposed to days….eekkkk….slow learner here. Greatful for growth though :-D Important article Chip. I’m praying more than ever these days that His Body be raised up to reflect Him.

  • JV says:

    Wow!…This message rings true in a an age of compromise! May we have ears to hear!

  • Kelby says:

    Ohhh this is so good to hear and all so convicting…my life story.. I ams so done with it.! I just want to please the Lord and speak what He would have.The process for most is often painful and hidden in different ways. May we all pray earnestly for one another to finish well!Blessings.KB

  • kenneth dawson says:

    yea there is no doubt that god has been working on me in the area of fear–i have learned that the only remedy is my crucifiction and his life in me expressing himself out of me.

  • donna says:

    simple, complex, simple or huge concept, massive subject, beautifully put! thanx a million!!!

  • Christine Walker says:

    I loved this article because it’s something I struggle with. “The fear of man is a snare,” the Bible says. It produces all kinds of pain to the person with the fear of man. The proverb goes on to say, “but the one who trusts in the Lord will be safe.” I love this proverb because it helps me see what counteracts fear of man. And also your article gave me good practicals to look for. Thanks to Jesus!

  • rosdiana says:

    I am so thankful for this article. Thank you Brother Chip for putting it so clear. I feel like it was written for me.

  • maureen perkins says:

    This is brilliant.

  • Alex says:

    very good message I can relate to it after being in the system for 17 years and finally coming out by God’s mercy and truth.

  • Rich Kelley says:

    These three areas also effect one at their secular jobs as well, made me think about some of my actions at work.

  • Sharron says:

    This was good and resonated with me. It can be hard to ‘speak the truth in love’ , when you have been conditioned by the institutional setting of the body of Christ from pastors preaching that members aren’t expressing themselves “in a spirit of meekness” , thusly “shut up”!

    They (the pastor’s) however can say what they want to say and how they want to say it without ever being corrected because ‘they are the mouth of God to the people’.

    And let’s not forget that favorite verse of those who don’t want to be held accountable: ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged”, loll!

    Not to say that there aren’t some people who are growing in their ability to ‘speak forth’ in a way that isn’t about ‘hey, look at me, I’ve got a prophetic gift/word of wisdom/discernment etc. ‘ And some people who are ‘telling the truth’ but it’s coming from a place of anger or other soulish direction.

    It should definitely be a matter of prayer to the Lord to search our hearts. As you often mention, we need to decrease. As that occurs I think we run less of the risk of speaking because we have an ‘ax to grind’, we’ll know when to speak ‘softly’, when to say nothing at all – just letting it all be up to Father.

  • Mary Jo says:

    Chip I am so thankful for this teaching. I have had such a struggle with this. I thank God for your ministry! I am praying for you because you are speaking revelation life and I know it is helping me and my husband tremendously. Keep pressing in I know the enemy wouldn’t want you to be putting this out and there must be warfare against you. God is greater and this is a great work! MJ

  • Lynne Clark says:

    This is so full of life and truth, I struggle with this and wow, it is a real eye opener, I never realized that self love was involved with this, but I needed to read it and I will read it again and again, God bless you for speaking the truth when others would prefer to water it down,

  • Sally Packer says:

    Thank you for this Chip. I have struggled with rejection all of my life, now I know the reason. However to be truthful I read the article not because of the ‘Fear of Man’ issue, but because I wanted to know exactly what Jesus meant when He said “we must eat His flesh and drink His blood or we will have no part in Him.” Friends say it is taking the Emblems at Communion, but I think it must be more. Would be very interested in what you say He meant Chip.

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