When Jesus sent out His disciples two by two He knew he was sending them out as sheep amongst wolves. He knew that they would be met with persecution and rejection along the way. He knew the hearts of the people had by and large grown callous in their religiosity.
Yet He still sent them out.
Jesus gave them one prescription to be able to withstand the ongoing rejection and persecution He knew they were to encounter :
“…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
He taught them the fear of God.
This is God’s prescription for persecution. This is the only way ongoing rejection and persecution can be met with strength and courage and be withstood.
Jesus still sends out His disciples today. He has given all of us the Great Commission. He knows that we will be rejected and persecuted for the message we bring to the world, yet He still sends us. And the prescription that was good for the early disciples is still good for us today too.
You see as God’s mouthpiece in a fallen world, above all else we must fear God.
You cannot simultaneously fear both God and man.
We all fear either one or the other.
The one you fear will be the one who dictates your life. The one you fear will determine where you stand.
Why did Jesus command us to fear God? Because He knows that:
“The fear of man brings a snare.” Proverbs 29:25
- The fear of man contaminates pure truth.
- The fear of man leads to bondage.
- The fear of man brings fear of rejection.
- The fear of man shuts your mouth when you should speak.
- The fear of man changes the truth of God’s Word into something more palatable.
- The fear of man brings compromise.
And thus the fear of man cannot please God.
God’s prophets are those who will stand in the midst of rejection. These are ones whom will not stop speaking truth even in the face of resistance, hostility and open aggression. They will not bow to the pressure of man. God’s mouthpieces are those who understand the consequences of speaking on His behalf, and may even be afraid to, yet they will still speak it.
God’s ambassadors are those He sends forth in the fear of Him.
You cannot simultaneously please both God and man.
Choose which one you are going to fear, because that is the one you are going to serve. The one whom you try to please is the master to whom you bow.
If you want to get far in this world, to be accepted, promoted, have lots of Facebook friends, to be asked to speak at conferences, if that’s what ultimately motivates you, then you fear man.
But if you are willing to let it go: the popularity, friends, followers of your blog, even family, if you are willing to follow Christ whatever the cost, to please Him, to obey Him, to be faithful to Him. If what motivates you is to one day hear these words:
“Well done my good and faithful servant…”
then you fear God. And no matter what persecution comes your way, even unto death, you will have the courage and the strength to withstand.
- How to overcome the fear of man
- How to get the fear of God