TRUST: A Fear of God vs A Fear of Man


As we know, words have multiple meanings. It is imperative that we are aware of those differences. For if we have the wrong meaning in mind, we could make a poor decision with results that we did not anticipate nor intend. For brevity sake, I will not go into a long list of words with multiple meanings. I will just use the operative word in the title of this post today – fear. TRUST: A Fear of God vs A Fear of Man

In the bible, fear generally is understood to be a reverential awe and respect of the person and power of God or to be afraid of someone or something. Jesus makes it clear what our priority should be in Luke 12:4-5.

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

In the New Testament, the Greek word used most often for fear is phobeō (fo-be’-ō). It is translated as fear (62x), be afraid (23x), be afraid of (5x), reverence (1x), miscellaneous (2x). Phobeō seen in scripture means for someone to be alarmed, flee or scared away, hesitate or to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience. We see both in this passage. TRUST: A Fear of God vs A Fear of Man

In the post TRUST: IF, it was submitted that Jesus serves as the model and models for us how we should respond in moments of challenge, hardships, suffering and trials, but Lord knows, it is hard to respond as He did – continued in obedience. He never responded with fear that caused Him to be alarmed, flee or scared away, hesitate. Jesus was always showed deference. When one fails to put God first, obedience is the sacrifice. Concern for self causes one to act to preserve himself despite us knowing that Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:35). This knowledge should empower us to not revert to TRUST IF. Jesus knew that He came to save through His death, burial and resurrection. He never lost sight of that purpose. TRUST: A Fear of God vs A Fear of Man

Conversely, the chief priest and teachers of the law never responded with reverential obedience. They were fearful or afraid of man not God. Listen to

Mark 14 

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

They were scheming to arrest and kill Jesus, but they were afraid to do this during the festival because the people may have rioted. The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were celebrations of God’s deliverance from bondage out of Egypt. Subsequently, the people were expecting or anticipating this same deliverance from the Messiah out of the suppression of the Romans. The chief priest and teachers of the law were not looking to lead the people as they should have. They were looking to see how they could maintain their positions. They saw Jesus as threat to their roles and positions. Their pride fed their fear of man culminating in their rejecting their true roles of spiritual leaders of the people. They were more fearful of man than God. TRUST: A Fear of God vs A Fear of Man

Where are you? Are you enduring a challenge, hardship or trial? Who is the focus of your strength and/or deliverance in that circumstance, God or man? If you choose man, you will disobey God because rarely is what man wants what God wills. Your acts will lead you away because man looks out for himself rather than what God wants. When one has a healthy respect and fear for God, he is obedient. He chooses God over man just as Jesus evidences in the passage. He went to Jerusalem knowing that He was going to die, but that was the will of God. He came to reconcile man to God through His sacrificial death and divine resurrection. What has God called you to do? Inevitably, it will cause you to experience trepidation or fear, but you must stand in faith knowing that God will empower, enable, equip and emancipate you to serve Him faithfully. TRUST: A Fear of God vs A Fear of Man – which will it be?

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