The Fear of Man vs. the Fear of God

Fear of the Lord acrosticBy:  Douglas Graham

Matthew 12:14-15 says, “But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.  Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there.  And many followed him, and he healed them all.”

Jesus didn’t have the fear of man.  He didn’t withdraw out of fear; He withdrew because He was on God’s timetable, not man’s timetable.  He knew He had to die on a cross, not die by being stoned or thrown off a cliff.

Jesus was being rejected by the Pharisees, yet He wasn’t controlled by what they thought of Him or what they could do to Him.  He didn’t get depressed or angry over their opinion of Him.  Most people because they have the fear of man will feel depressed about being rejected, or they might seek revenge, but not Jesus.

Jesus was more concerned about doing God’s will not man’s will.  Matthew 12:18 says, “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.”  Jesus knew He had His Father’s approval.  He knew His Father loved Him and that’s freed Him from the fear of man.

The fear of man wasn’t a problem for Jesus.  When someone has the fear of man, people are big and God is small, but when someone has the fear of God, people are small and God is big.  And that’s the way it should be.  God is our object of worship.  Yet when I have the fear of man it’s because I’m preoccupied with myself instead of God.

It’s not man’s approval that we need in order to live, it’s God’s approval.  Matthew 10:28 says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather fear Him  who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

When you have the fear of man you’re a slave to man, you’re always worried about what man thinks of you, and what man can do to you, but when you have the fear of God, you’re set free to serve people and love people, even your enemies.

Jesus wasn’t controlled by people, He wasn’t afraid of people, but He did care about them.  Matthew 12:15 says, “And He healed them all.”  He was all about doing His Father’s will, while at the same time He showed compassion toward the needy.

When God controls you, when He is your object of worship, when you have the fear of the Lord, you’re set free to show compassion and sympathy toward people, and not live in worry, depression, or revenge.

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we are trusting in His life, death, and resurrection to be our hope!  He transforms us to be more like Him.  His grace and truth sets us free to live to do God’s will, not our will or man’s will.  And He sets us free to love as He loved.

When we live to do God’s will and show compassion to those around us, we are obeying the greatest commandment which is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.

If you have the fear of man, you can’t love others.  You can’t love others because you’re preoccupied with self.  And if you do not love others, you don’t have the fear of God.

When you have the fear of God, you will have love for God and love for others.  They go hand in hand.  So the question is – how do I get the fear of God?  The answer is the Gospel.  Get to know Jesus.  Seek to honor Jesus.  Place your faith in Jesus.

Just as God the Father loved His Son and was pleased with His Son, and Jesus lived to do the will of His Father, so too, you and I need to find our identity in Jesus Christ.

God loves us, His Son died for us, He is now pleased with us, our sins are forgiven!  We have a new name, with a new heart.  We are a new creation, all because of Jesus!  That’s the Gospel!  It’s not the opinion of others that matters.  It’s His opinion that matters.

It’s not that we are rude, indifferent, or uncaring toward others; it’s that our eyes are fixed on honoring God and loving God, not living for the approval of man.  When Jesus is our supreme affection we are now able to truly love our neighbor.

To have the fear of God – every day we need to embrace the Gospel.  Thank God for Jesus!  He is our example!  He is our Savior!  He alone is worthy!

About Pastor Douglas Graham

Dr. Douglas Graham started MadeToFish in 2007. MadeToFish is about "Growing and helping others grow in the Gospel." Doug is the Pastor of Cedarville Nazarene Church. Our church website is:
This entry was posted in Anger, Faith, Fear, Freedom, Grace, Honoring God, Jesus Christ, Love for God, Love for others, Peer Pressure, The fear of God, The fear of man, The Gospel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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