Muted…Fear pt. 3 by Caleb H.
July 14, 2008, 5:15 am
Filed under: Devotions

by Caleb Hancock

Have you ever heard the expression “scared stiff”, or have you ever experienced it? When I get scared, I tend to do the opposite. That is, I lash out in a blitz of involuntary punches upon whatever it is that scared me (so be warned, it’s kind of like this guy in the video below…)

However, in all seriousness, I have also experienced fear in a crippling way. Or rather, in a silencing way.

This is a common experience for followers of Christ in our world, not just from the personal encounters that I have had, or even from the testimonies of my friends, but also from the clear support of scripture. Here is a startling and sobering example from John 12,

42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

What was the problem here? The authorities had seen Jesus and him raising Lazarus from the dead. Scripture even says that they believed in him! But they did not confess this publicly. WHY? Why would they not tell others about the Messiah? The answer is soberingly simple…it was something that all Christians are accustomed to experiencing…it’s called the fear of man.

The fear of man is an unhealthy and sinful preoccupation with what others think of you. It is dangerously pervasive, and let’s be clear on this, as sin, God hates it. Proverbs 26:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

Have you ever been afraid of what your co-workers or fellow classmates and peers thought of you? Has it influenced what you wear, what you talk about (who you do and do not share the good news of Christ with), what media you approve of, who you are friends with? Let these questions penetrate your own life. The fear of Man is pervasive and deadly. It lays a snare for us, so that we do not live rightly.

But, there is forgiveness for sinners who repent and trust in Jesus’ life and death for them! We should not be surprised at our sinfulness, but scripture is clear that we should not be complacent in it either.

1 John 1: 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Let the truth about the danger of the fear of man sober you. May you not be so hardened and proud to think that you are immune to its influence! Also, let the truth about Christ and his cross inform your guilty feelings. There was One who never feared man, but always feared God, His Father. And His substitutionary work on the cross has payed for our sins, every one of them, and His perfect record now covers us in God’s sight!

And may we be transformed men who once, were crippled by fear, but now, empowered by the Holy Spirit boldly proclaim what Jesus has done for us and will do for all who repent and believe!!!

For further encouragement and study on the transforming effect of the Holy Spirit for boldness in evangelism, read here in Acts 4.


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