Finding Freedom from the Fear of Man

imagesProverbs 29:25 says, Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”  The word “fear” literally means, fear; extreme anxiety; anxious care; quaking or trembling. The fear of man is also known as the fear of what people think. When we fear man, we fear what others think, say or believe about us. We fear their judgment and rejection. We fear upsetting or offending them. The fear of man is basically a spirit of control that we empower by believing its lies.

The above verse confirms this by saying this fear “will prove to be a snare.” The word “snare” means a noose or snare used for trapping animals; a hook for the nose; a trap. When we give place to the fear of man, we become ensnared, trapped and in bondage to this controlling spirit. It manifests itself through insecurity, intimidation, manipulation, cowardice, rejection, and potentially paralyzing fear when dealing with others. We give other people the power to control what we say, do, feel, think and believe. When we fear people, we become people pleasers. But we cannot please people and God at the same time. Paul made this clear in Galations 1:10, Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” 

The good news is, that like every other form of bondage, God has made it possible to get free from people pleasing and the fear of man. It isn’t by rebuking these spirits or doing deliverance, though those may be of some benefit. Freedom will come when we receive the revelation of our true identity in Christ. When we become confident and secure in His love and affirmation, we no longer look to people to meet those needs. The truth of God’s love and passion for us as His beloved sons and daughters will set us free from the enemy’s lies. As Solomon so wisely put it, our trust in the Lord will keep us safe from the fear of man.

Our trust, or faith, in His goodness and grace toward us will give us the assurance we need, and cause us to rejoice in what He says is true of us. His word, His love, His desire, and His many promises, instill the confidence in our hearts that we all need and long for. Truthfully, no matter what we do, or don’t do, say, or don’t say, people are going to believe what they want, whether it is true or not. We cannot control that, nor should we let them control us by giving them power over us. God, who is Truth, knows the ultimate, perfect truth about us. He has seen us at our very worst, and still, He chose us anyway! Unlike people who are fickle and may love us one minute and hate us the next, His opinion of us never changes. He is always with us and for us and really, in light of that, nothing else matters!

 

Are You a Prisoner of the Performance Trap?

Charlene S Hughes

Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try, it’s never enough? That even when youHamster Wheel Runner do your very best, it still isn’t good enough? These thoughts lead to feelings of discouragement, frustration, even despair. Sound familiar at all? I would guess most if not all of us would say “Yes!” One of the most common struggles we face as human beings centers around issues of performance. This is one example of what I wrote about in an earlier post, Are Toxic Beliefs Derailing Your Destiny?

Usually these thoughts come from words we heard from parents and other adults during our childhood. Or maybe it was just the look you got when you brought home a bad grade, or didn’t make the team, or didn’t do as well as your sibling. Even well meaning parents can unwittingly convey negative messages. This usually also involves withholding love, affection, or…

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Are You a Prisoner of the Performance Trap?

Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try, it’s never enough? That even when youHamster Wheel Runner do your very best, it still isn’t good enough? These thoughts lead to feelings of discouragement, frustration, even despair. Sound familiar at all? I would guess most if not all of us would say “Yes!” One of the most common struggles we face as human beings centers around issues of performance. This is one example of what I wrote about in an earlier post, Are Toxic Beliefs Derailing Your Destiny?

Usually these thoughts come from words we heard from parents and other adults during our childhood. Or maybe it was just the look you got when you brought home a bad grade, or didn’t make the team, or didn’t do as well as your sibling. Even well meaning parents can unwittingly convey negative messages. This usually also involves withholding love, affection, or approval until the child does “better.” As a result we (or our children) believe the lie that, “I must measure up in order to be… (accepted, approved, loved, etc.).”

No matter how good or godly our parents were, or we may be, we were all born into sin and are flawed as a result. Generational sins, as described in Exodus 20:4 affect us all until we learn how to get free from them (a topic for another blog post!). Performance, perfectionism, striving and people-pleasing are all symptoms of this root of rejection. This toxic thinking causes us to strive to achieve, to earn acceptance from others through various means, to become a human “doing” rather than a human being.  We just can’t seem to do enough, or do it well enough. When our efforts don’t achieve the results we expect, we become offended, angry, frustrated, depressed, etc.

Often we blame ourselves, thinking that if we could only do it better, we would gain the acceptance and approval we long for. So we keep trying over and over, with each new person we meet, or each new situation we face. This destructive cycle typically leaves a trail of broken relationships in its path. Many believers give in to hopelessness, disillusionment with their faith, and their inability to “fix” the problem. Or we may blame God and harbor anger and disappointment in our hearts toward Him. If you can relate to this pattern of thinking and behaving, there is good news – you can get free!

The first step is to recognize that you have believed a lie that you don’t measure up, aren’t good enough, and/or can never meet the standard. We unknowingly believe lies because they feel true, based on our circumstances and life experiences. Some lies, such as this one, have a measure of truth in them. According to God’s Word, none of us measured up to His standard (Rom. 3:23). His standard is the only one we are expected to meet, yet none of us could.

But the good news is that He made provision for us through His Son. Jesus met God’s standard of perfection for us, freely giving us His righteousness in place of our sin. Because He met God’s standard for us, we can rest in His finished work on the cross! We no longer have to earn acceptance for we are completely accepted in and through Him. We don’t have to strive to achieve because He did what we could never do. Plus, He has given us His Spirit to empower us to do what we cannot do in our own strength.

It is essential that we forgive those who communicated this lie to us – parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders, etc. And we must forgive ourselves for believing this lie and living it out in our lives. We should also repent, asking God to forgive us and receiving His forgiveness. His acceptance, love, and approval of us alone can satisfy our deepest longings. When we become secure in His love, we won’t need to continually receive approval from others.

Have you been a prisoner of the performance trap? How do you plan to get free? Comment below.