The fear of man is not only a matter of your disposition to other people. It includes your thoughts and actions towards your self.
If you are perpetually anxious and in fear of constant failure, you have a “fear of man” problem.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
I wonder how many times I have been more guilty of being scared of myself than being freaked out about others.
The Trinity gives us a better way. He tells us to be in awe (read “Fear of the Lord”) of Him. This will not only cast away the seeking of approval from other people, but it will also cause us to realize what it means to truly be human. We will be more alive than we ever have been when we stand in awe of Him and express this joy filled reality in the language of love to everyone.
I have wondered how many times my lack of love for my neighbor has come from a struggle with self hatred. I am not talking about making everything about me as the ultimate end to life, but when we fail to receive His love it is a total impossibility to truly love others.
Sometimes we can get in a pursuit of self protection and self promotion that really isolates us off from being in awe of Him and causes us to use people in order to build our self up. This is a type of “fearing man.” Instead, be in awe of God. He will “see your path straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6)
Has your fear of man complex been more of a matter of being timid toward what He has called you to do, even more than the criticism of other people? Are you your worst critic? The man you fear the most may be your self.
If this is you, be encouraged by 2 Tim. 1:7 today. He hasn’t given you a spirit of timidity, but power, love, and self-discipline. He has also promised to give power to you, if you are at your wits end. (Is. 41:28-31)