How Do I Fear the Lord, Not People?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 6, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week, we wrote on whether fear and worry are real. They are both definitely real, but that doesn’t mean we have to give in to them - as far as earthly situations go. Logan wrote last week about taking our fears captive, and how the only way we can do that is through the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

This week, we’re taking that one step further. We do need to fear God, because He is so much greater and more powerful than us - after all, He did create us. We need to have both a fear of God as in reverence or awe, and also a fear of God as in a terror of His almighty power. He is the almighty God of the universe, and I’m just a poor little human; I should definitely be afraid of Him!

But, how often are we also afraid of people on this earth? We are all created in God’s image and loved by Him; there is no hierarchy of people in God’s eyes. He doesn’t love certain people more than others, or say that certain ones are more important. From God’s perspective, all people are on a level playing field.

So why do we fear people? We fear people when we are not fully trusting in God. Yes, people can do awful things to each other. They steal, slander, murder, torture, and all sort of other bad things - to their fellow humans! Why do people do these things? Because they are working out of their own power and desires, not God’s. If a certain person thinks he or she is better than others, he or she will feel power over them and feel like they can do whatever their evil heart desires - giving no consideration to God’s desires, or the fact that all people are created in the image of God.

Psalm 118 is a great example of fearing God, not people. I encourage you to go read the whole thing. In this post, I want to highlight verses 6-8: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”

Like the Psalmist says, God is with me, so what can mere mortals do to me? Well they can do all sorts of things, but none of that is important when God is our focus and we are fully trusting in Him. God is with us, and we should take refuge in Him rather than trusting in humans and what they could do to us. Yes, humans can act toward us in evil ways; but that doesn’t matter when we have God on our side.

There are many stories of martyrs (people killed for their faith) dying with confidence and courage because of their amazing trust in God. The book Jesus Freaks by DC Talk is just one such collection of stories like this, and more can be found on the Voice of the Martyrs website, just to name a few. Why could these people face death with such amazing courage? Because they believed that God was with them, and that anything mere mortals did to their bodies was inconsequential, knowing that their spirit would be with Jesus forever. They had an amazing fear of God, knowing that He is in control.

But this doesn’t just play out in situations of possible death. What about in everyday life? What about walking down the halls of your school or job, and doing or saying certain things so others will like you and accept you? That is fearing people, because you are worried about how they will judge you. But we don’t have to worry at all what others think of us, even in these everyday situations. Why? Because God is ultimately in control! If we trust God with our whole lives, then it doesn’t matter if people ridicule the clothes I’m wearing or the way I act. God still loves me, as long as I am being obedient to what He wants me to do with my life.

Personally, while there are times I do try to conform to those around me, often times it just isn’t a big deal to me. Am I a 33-year-old woman who wears her hair in pigtails on the weekends, and goes barefoot as often as possible? You bet! Do I care if others think that’s silly? Nope! I am going to be the person God made me to be, whether that conforms to the world or not. There are a lot of little things in my life that I just don’t care what other people think. My confidence is not in myself, but in the God who created me and gives me life.

Do you have that kind of faith? Do you fear and trust the Lord, knowing that He is fully in control of your life? Or do you worry about what other people may think of you or do to you, rather than trusting in God’s ultimate plan?