“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” – Proverbs 29:25
There are many fears, but the fear of man, is one in which everyone has to do battle with on some level. Fear is a spirit and one of its key elements is distrust. Fear seeks to sow seeds of distrust into your heart. These seeds, when they are allowed to grow, form into a fruit known as the fear of man.
When we read the Book of Acts, one of the things that strikes me the most is that the disciples prayed for boldness constantly. They even prayed for boldness immediately after showing great amounts of boldness by preaching in a certain place and getting arrested. In Acts 4, we read about the arrest of Peter and John after preaching with boldness in Solomon’s Portico. The inspiring part of this story is that while they showed great amounts of boldness in front of the Sadducees, the first thing they did when they got released was to pray for more boldness.
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” – Acts 4:29. The disciples knew that boldness was something that ebbed and flowed. It is a constant battle to fight against fear. The fear of man seeks to silence you. We know this to be incredibly dangerous because this is one area in which the gospel is spread. We spread the gospel by speaking it, by preaching it, by teaching it and by singing it.
As we look across our culture today, the fear of man permeates everything. We have cancel culture, we have people who are being deplatformed and we have people who are simply ostracized for speaking an opposing point of view. And while most of this in the US is centered around politics, it has certainly affected the mindset of all people and kept them from sharing their opinions openly.
While a lot of people are still bold enough to share memes and bible verses on Twitter and Facebook, many have decided that when speaking to one another in person, they will keep their religion to themselves and this is a sad turn of events. The church is not called to be a silent institution in the marketplace. We are called to be bold and to speak out as a prophetic voice into the darkness, bringing light to those who are living in spiritual blindness.
When the fear of man grips us though, we don’t share our light. We instead hide it (perhaps under a bushel?). This fear is powerfully used by the enemy to keep those in darkness bound up and to limit the spread of the gospel. The early church knew this. Which is why they prayed so frequently for boldness.
So what are some of the keys to overcoming the fear of man?
- Pray for boldness. This should be a no-brainer, but prayer is fuel for our soul. Prayer is our secret sauce. It empowers us to do things that we otherwise wouldn’t do. When the Sadducees saw the boldness in which Peter and John spoke, they were amazed (Acts 4:13). “Prayer in private results in boldness in public.” – Edwin Louis Cole
- Meditate on His Word. Spend time in the Word of God. Eat the book. If you want boldness, you’ve got to have God’s Word inside of you. “When we find a man meditating on the words of God, my friends, that man is full of boldness and is successful.” – Dwight L. Moody
- Put your trust in God. Like I said earlier, fear sows seeds of distrust. Not only distrust for our fellow man, but distrust in God and what He can do. We must put our trust fully in Him and He will give us great boldness to speak his truth.
I believe God is going to raise up people in this hour that will be bold. Those that will overcome the spirit of fear and boldly proclaim his Word to a lost and dying world. God is raising up a company of lions that will not back down when the fear of man rises up around them. Now is that time! Rise up men and women of God!