The fear of God needs to overtake the fear of man. It needs to be a stronger force in our lives than the fear of man or else the FOM will keep rearing up its ugly head and dictating our lives.
Natural Vs Spiritual
We all want to be liked. We all desire the approbation of others. To be recognised, affirmed and accepted. That’s natural. I am the same as everyone else.
But that is the natural man, the old man. That man is part of the temporal, earthly order.
When we were born again our spirit-man was born from above. Now we are a part of the heavenly order of things. It’s important to remember that the temporal order is on its way out and very soon the eternal will be ushered in.
God has placed this world under judgment and there is no escaping that fact. Remember the writing on the wall? “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” (Daniel 5:25). This world has been weighed in the balances and found to be wanting (or “too light”). Therefore God has numbered the days of the kingdoms of this world and shortly they will be brought to an end.
So when our natural man focusses on the earthly, material kingdoms around us we can forget that we are a part of something far greater, far more wonderful than this temporal order. Jesus removed the blinkers from our eyes when we were saved but we must know how to see into the eternal. We should be able to see what the natural man cannot. To see that the natural and temporal are passing away and that it is the eternal that counts and that lasts.
Remember Daniel: After he translated the above words, King Belshazzar ordered him to be promoted in his kingdom and highly honoured him in the sight of Babylon. But what did Daniel want with the King’s approbation? – He’d just told him that the days of his kingdom were numbered! The promotion was meaningless!
Daniel had eyes to see. The great banquet, the flowing wine and the shine of the cups of gold did not distract Daniel from seeing the spiritual.
The way of the kingdom is a different way, a higher way. Jesus came to deliver us from the bondage of the fear of man in the natural, and to bring us into His way – the way of the Spirit.
Obtaining the Fear of God
It is only in fearing God that the fear of man is supernaturally overcome. But how to obtain the fear of God?
Consider Stephen the Martyr. Previously the high priest had strictly forbidden the apostles to teach in Jesus’ Name, they had even been imprisoned for the message they preached. It was a scary time to be preaching the gospel.
“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:29-32
Stephen could have kowtowed to the accusers, but he didn’t. He didn’t fear them, he could see beyond them and their threats. He could see the God of eternity. And he feared God much more than these men.
So in the fear of God Stephen, rather than cowering in a corner, rose to the occasion and preached the truth.
“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit, as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?…” Acts 7:51, 52
Did Stephen fear man? No way. Did he compromise his message hoping they might let him off? Nope.
Yes, they killed him, but he didn’t fear them.
You see he had a vision of heaven. He “gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55
The difference is that God’s people are able to see. They can see beyond the temporal, physical realm. Rather than seeing man and his threats they could see the One who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
And that is the difference.
- The fear of man comes from spiritual myopia – short-sighted vision that cannot see beyond this physical, material world.
- The fear of God comes from a supernatural revelation of the glory of God.
Once you have seen it you are never the same.
Isaiah saw it.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled
the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:1-3
This is what this generation needs more than ever – a revelation of the glory of God.
Once you’ve had a vision of the holiness, the reverence, the majesty of God, you have a vision of eternity. Suddenly your eyes are opened to the temporal nature of everything that encompasses us. Suddenly you see that only the eternal matters.
Suddenly your eyes are also opened to your true self. Once Isaiah saw God he also saw himself.
“Woe is me, for I am undone!”
The power of self is undone in the presence of Almighty God. And suddenly how man and this world estimates you takes a second place to the revelation that there is a holy God who sees you. Only His estimation of you matters now. And now the fear of man takes second place to the fear of Almighty God.
“Lord stamp eternity on my eyeballs” Leonard Ravenhill
Oh Lord God Almighty, give us, this last generation, a vision of Your glory. Let us see You in all Your awesome majesty. Give us a heavenly vision again Lord. I am asking for such clear spiritual vision that we can see past the distraction of this world and into eternity. Father, that we may fear You alone, and not man. Let us do Your will only. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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