Fear, when it’s all boiled down, falls into two categories. You either fear man or you fear God. You either please man or please God.
We classify it differently today. We don’t really address it as being fear. When we are younger we call it peer pressure. When we are older we call it people pleasing. But it’s really based around fear. Do we fear man more or do we fear God more? Solomon writes in Proverbs 29:25 that the fear of man is a snare. In other words, it’s a trap that we fall into. We replace God with people. Instead of fearing God, we fear people. Therefore, our worth and joy is tied to what someone says or thinks about us.
There are two instances of this found in the Bible. The first is found in Acts. Peter and John have just healed a man who was born lame. Because of this a great crowd gathered and so Peter took this opportunity to proclaim the name of Jesus to them. But the captain of the temple and the Sadducees didn’t like this. So they arrested Peter and John. They brought them in front of the council for questioning, the next day, and commanded them not to preach in the name of Jesus. Peter and John responded:
Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:19-20 ESV)
Peter and John were standing in front of a group of people who could have had them killed. But they chose to fear God rather than people. They chose to listen to God rather than to them. They chose to obey God rather than man.
The second instance is found in Matthew 4. Jesus has just been baptized and has been led into the wilderness to fast for 40 days. While He is there, the devil comes to tempt Him. The devil takes Him to a very high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. The devil offers to give them to Jesus if He will just fall down and worship the devil. Side bar: The devil will always offer you something that you already have in Jesus. Ok so with that said, this is how Jesus responds:
Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” (Matthew 4:10 ESV)
The verse that Jesus is referring to here is found in Deuteronomy 6, but instead of the word “worship,” the word “fear” is used in this verse (See Deuteronomy 6:13). So, in other words, what Jesus is saying the root of fear, when it’s all boiled down, comes to worship. So if you fear man, you worship man. If you fear God, you worship God.
So in conclusion, there are two questions that you have to answer when it comes down to dealing with fear. The first is “Where have you worshiped created things rather than the Creator?” And the second is “We will all worship, who or how will you worship?”