In this week’s youth takeover service, youth pastor Stephanie Kram preached a powerful message about how to overcome fear of man. God’s word says that fear can become a snare for us, but that we will be kept safe when we trust in God. Jesus came to set us free of all sin that keeps us captive, including all areas related to fear and insecurity. Stephanie shared the reality that a healthy fear of God will cause us to lose an unhealthy fear of anything else.
What is fear of man?
The fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
Snare: Anything by which one is entangled and brought into trouble.
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.
Why do we need to address fear of man?
We cannot expect God to grow us and mature us into the fullness of who God created us to be if we are elevating the opinions others over His.
3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them.
10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.”
18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?
22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” 24 Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.
Fear of God
We will only overcome fear of man with fear of God. The greater our fear of God is, the less we will battle with insecurity. The answer isn’t just to rebuke the fear away and focus on trying to not fear. We must lift our eyes to the maker of heaven and earth. We need a perspective shift.
“Constructive fears produce wisdom. Not all fears are bad. The fear of God swallows up all destructive fears. Holy fear eliminates all other fears and anxieties, for it is backed by God’s promise of being kept safe.” -John Bevere
Biblical example of fear of God: Abraham and Isaac (see Genesis 22:1-14)
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
How do you know if you have a healthy fear of God?
- Quick obedience. What was the last thing God told you to do and did you follow through? How quick were you to obey?
- Your prayer life. Do you pray panicky, demanding prayers? Or do you pray reverent, humble prayers?
- Your thought life. Are you currently allowing the emotional response of fear to turn into a fearful thought life, leading to a lifestyle of fear?
Diagnosing the fear of man (insecurity) in our hearts:
• Popularity and reputation are of great importance to me.
• I need to be accepted always.
• I fear what other people think about me.
• I fear what others say about me (mostly imagined).
• I fear criticism.
• I fear humiliating myself in front of others (leads to passivity)
• I fear being rejected by those close to me.
• I fear people in authority.
• I fear communicating publicly.
• I fear confrontation.
• I fear being held accountable.
• I am often timid and shy.
• My self-worth is determined by others.
- What is fear of man? How does fear turn into a sin issue in our lives?
- What kept Saul from fully obeying the command of God? What were the consequences of his disobedience?
- Stephanie said that the antidote to fear of man is greater fear of God. What is fear of God? How is Abraham’s story representative of a healthy fear of God?
- Stephanie shared how we can diagnose our level of fear of God by looking at our quickness to obey, our prayer life, and our thought life. Are you healthy or unhealthy in these three areas?
- Look at the list of phrases to help diagnose whether you are captive to fear of man. Is there one specific phrase that you are currently struggling with?
- Look at your answer to discussion question #5 and determine an area where you are living captive to fear of man. Meet with a prayer partner and pray the 4 R’s through this specific area.
- This week, read through the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22:1-14. Meditate on this story and ask God to fill you with greater revelation of how worthy He is of your reverence, awe, and quick obedience. Look for specific opportunities this week to obey God without excuse or question.