Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Overcoming the Fear of Man

There is only one antidote to the fear of man, and that is the fear of God.fear of man

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.

fear of godRemember 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

Not long after this event Stephen is accused of blasphemy and put on trial. How frightening! Other Christians had recently beenfear killed for the faith and this was fresh in their minds.

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.

 

The Revelation

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

source: idisciple.org

source: idisciple.org

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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God’s Vision for You

Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18

If God has given you a vision of something He wants to do through you, then He wants to encourage you to keep going.   Don’t be distracted or discouraged by the voices around you.  When God births something through His Spirit and gives us a vision of what He wants to do, then no matter what comes against us, we must hold onto that vision and keep pushing through by faith.

If you do not yet know God’s will for your life or if you feel that God wants to bring you into your calling, then I would like to share with you what I have learnt:

1.  Get into God’s presence and seek His face until you know FOR SURE that this vision He is calling you to is from Him and is for you.  Do not speak to other people or seek human opinion.  Speak to God and seek Him only. Ask Him to confirm it to you through scripture and the Holy Spirit and then wait.  He may not show you immediately, but if you are patient and truly seeking His will for your life, then He will show you at the right time.

“Indeed, let no one who waits on you be ashamed…Show me your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; On you I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:3-5

(Important note: to “wait” on God is not passive – rather it is active, keep seeking Him.)

2.  Once God reveals to you His vision for your life and confirms it through the Word, then ask Him for any specific instructions or guidance.  It may be His will for you to hold on to the vision for a bit and wait till He tells you to move.  We should never advance before God tells us to.  Conversely we should never hold back when He tells us to move.

In 2 Samuel 5:17-25 the Lord not only gave King David instructions on how to defeat the Philistines, but also when to carry out His instructions, ie “when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly.  For then the Lord will got out before you….” (verse 24)  In battle strategy, when is just as important as how.

3.  Only speak to other people about the vision God has given you when it is absolutely settled within your own heart.  And even then only speak to the ones He directs you to speak about it with.  When Jesus revealed Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus He immediately showed Saul the vision and calling He had for his life “…For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness….” (Acts 26:16). Paul did not speak to other men about it.  He didn’t even speak to the apostles about it. Instead, Paul says “But when it pleased God….to reveal His son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood…” (Galations 1:16).  Paul instead went to Arabia for an extended period. He needed time alone with God to establish this vision within his heart.  God also need to prepare Paul for his life’s work, by learning dependence on God, rather than man or on himself.

You need to settle the vision with God and within your own heart before you bring it out into the open.  This is because, unfortunately, as soon as other people know what God has spoken to you, inevitably it becomes subject to human opinion, discussion and negativity.  Even the well-meaning and godly can be used by our enemy to bring discouragement and doubt.

I have had the below image in my mind all morning and felt I should create it.  Here are some potential obstacles that the enemy will put in the path of God’s vision for your life in order to prevent its occurrence :

IMG_2556

(I hope you can see it, I’m still new to blogging!!)

Never forget that God chooses “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God (chooses) the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He (chooses) the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)  Therefore do not be surprised if the vision He gives you:

  • seems impossible to you or others
  • is contrary to your personality and nature
  • seems to go against common sense

4.  The final point is – to keep going.  Keep your eye on God, not yourself or others. Keep praying. Like Paul, do not be “disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19).  No matter what the enemy throws at you, regardless of what doubts and fears you may have, or what other people say, if something has been birthed of God and by His Spirit, if we keep going on by faith, then nothing can stop it.  If a door has been opened by God, then no man can shut it (Revelation 3:8).  Let’s not shrink back, let’s move forward in faith – despite the outward circumstances, despite our weaknesses and inadequacies, and despite what others may think.

“For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9