“…for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God” (John 12:43).
One of the things that often stops professing Christians in their tracks, when it comes to taking a stand or speaking up for the Savior, is what others are going to think, what others are going to say. Simply put, this is called the fear of man.
The passage that I have quoted above comes from a larger passage that talks about how some of the Jewish leaders had come to believe in Jesus, but they were “secret” believers because of their fear of the Pharisees.
Oswald Chambers has written, “As soon as God becomes real, other people become shadows.” Meaning that when we are faithfully serving our Lord and Savior, what other people think about us or say about us, should be irrelevant.
One of the most gut-wrenching scenes in the New Testament is found in Luke 23. In this chapter is the story of Peter’s denial of Jesus. For fear of man Peter had denied, three times, that he even knew Jesus, the third time with cursing and swearing. Following the crowing of the rooster, Luke adds this to the passage, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (vs. 61).
Everyone of us, as Christians, have faced times that we shut up instead spoke up, acted one way instead of another way, simply because we feared those who were watching.
The Apostle Paul wrote, in his letter to the Philippians, “Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (4:5). When saying that the Lord was near, Paul was not referring to His second coming, he was telling his audience that the Lord is at hand, ever with us, ever present. When we cultivate that consciousness, when we, as the writer Hebrews exhorts us to, “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), we will find that what Jesus thinks will come to mean more to us than what our family, our friends, and our acquaintances may think, or even say.
“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom” (Job 28:28).