We wrapped up our fear series by talking about the fear of man.  The fear of man in its most simple form is a worship of man instead of a worship of God.  People become our gods and they greatly affect us. Jeremiah 17:5-10 paints a picture of the difference in the man that trusts in flesh and the one who trusts in God.

The picture of the man that fears man is one of a bush in the middle of the dessert. It is alone and dry.  But the man who trusts in God is described as a tree with roots that reach to the stream and it continually bears fruit. So how do you know if you suffer fear of man?

I would recommend that you read “When People are Big and God is Small” by Ed Welch.  The whole book unpacks fear of man and I would recommend anyone and everyone to read it.   Welch writes, “Scripture gives three basic reasons why we fear other people…1) We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us. 2) We fear people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us. 3) We fear people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us. These three reasons have one thing in common: they see people as ‘bigger’ (that is, more powerful and significant) than God, and, out of the fear that creates in us, we give other people the power and right to tell us what to feel, think, and do.”

I think all of us behave out of fear of people more than we want to admit. We think about things through the lens of what people will think and say more often than what does God think or say. Stop and think about your life. Its most visible in the lives of teens and college students. What they wear and what they do is constantly affected by those around them. A neat idea was invented around it called peer pressure. The problem is that we don’t grow out of it, we just learn to mask our fear of man and pretend it doesn’t exist. 

You should also think about sin patterns in your life. Do those patterns have a string of fear of man connecting them? One pattern that is consistent is if you suffer from being a people pleaser. Do you struggle to say no? Does it devastate you if you disappoint someone? People pleasing reveals a tendency in us to seek the approval and affirmation of people over and above the approval and affirmation of God.

I think almost every human struggles with fear of man in some way. I highly recommend “When People Are Big and God Is Small”.  Click the link at the bottom to go to Amazon and buy it today. It is also a great book for a small group or for couples to go through. You may not recognize how it all plays out in your life and God has graciously placed people in your life that can help you.

When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Resources for Changing Lives)