Hope for fearful people
Last week, we looked at signs that indicate you may be struggling with the fear of man. This week, we'll focus on hope for those who are struggling with or controlled by the fear of man.
Perhaps the biggest struggle any person has is the battle to recognize sin as “sin.” Because the fear of man can masquerade as love for others (I'm being deferential, not fearful…), it is easy to be self-deceived. How can you tell the difference? Love for others is motivated by a desire for their good. Fear of others is motivated by a desire to be safe, to protect yourself.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you're loving someone else, when you're actually watching your own back. It doesn't serve you well, and it doesn't serve them in the end either. Over time, people will be able to tell the difference and begin to recognize the fear that characterizes your relationships.
Be captivated by God's love.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…. We love because he first loved us.” These words from 1 John 4:18-19 give us the key to living in love, rather than being controlled by the fear of man: recognize that God loves you far more deeply than any human being ever could, and revel in that fact!
You who once were God's enemy have now been made a friend of God. He has made you accepted in Christ (Eph 1:6). No matter who else rejects you, God will not. Nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Jesus (Rom 8:38-39). You see, when God is for you, it doesn't matter who else is against you.
Are you living in fear or in love? Why don't you ask someone who knows you well?
Are you living in fear and calling it love? Call your fear what God calls it: “sin.” The next time you find yourself lacking the necessary courage to have a difficult conversation, think about the fact that God will accept you, even if that person rejects you. When you are tempted to manipulate others out of fear of failure, remember that even your greatest failures can't separate you from the love of God.
God's love is so great that it produces love for others, even when love requires great courage. Perfect love casts out fear.
See part 1 of this post, for signs that may indicate you struggle with the fear of man.