When you think of the word courage, what is the image that comes to mind? I think of Daniel, some of the prophets, martyrs and Paul. What about fear? Obviously, fear is what Paul, martyrs, the prophets and Daniel lacked. They demonstrated that throughout their walk with God.
Life without fear does not exist; we all have been scared at one time or another. We all have had moments when fear caused us to do things that we would not ordinarily do. I personally have a extreme fear of snakes and tight spaces. I remember jumping back with a yell like a five year old girl from a two-foot long grass snake. You probably have some sort of phobia as well.
Once a mother asked her young son to go out to the porch and get a broom. He said that he didn’t want to because it was dark. His mother told him that there was nothing to be afraid of and that Jesus was out there. He said, “Are you sure that Jesus is out there?” She said that Jesus was everywhere and that he would take care of him. The boy slowly went to the door, opened it a crack and called, “Jesus, if you are out there, can you please hand me the broom?” I got a kick out of that.
But allow me to get right to the point. I am not talking about just ordinary fear today. I am talking about the fear of man. This is an especially powerful fear that can control us entirely. All the time I am hearing stories of people dong foolish things because they were with friends, and the fear of man caused them to do something they regret. The fear of man is a real and relevant problem. How do we conquer the fear of man and not let it have a foothold in our life?
The answer is very easy to say, but requires a great deal of effort to apply to our lives. We conquer fear by replacing the fear of man with the righteous and holy fear of God.
In the book of Daniel there are two stories illustrating this beautifully. First was when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the gold statue. They did this knowing fully that if they didn’t they would get thrown into a furnace. Why? Because the feared God more the the king. And if that wasn’t enough, they flat out refused to bow down a second time right in the king’s face! Do you see how the holy fear that those men felt for God conquered the fear of man?
What about Daniel? He didn’t stop praying when the decree was issued that one could only pray to the king. How did he do it? He feared God more than man! He knew that if he prayed to God he would die, but instead he stuck with what he believed and did not alter it one bit. Do you see it? These men feared God more than the king and the higher and holy fear of God conquered the lower and earthly fear of man. True courage is fearing God more than man, and these men had courage.
Why is this such a big deal? Because fearing man more than God will drastically if not entirely change the way we live our lives. If you let the fear of man govern your life, you will never be able to live your life to God’s glory. Our lives will be dominated by this world instead of God, and that’s a worthless and exhausting life to live.
The fear of God is a choice you make. Will you fear Him more than man when you are at work? With friends? At home? With your decisions? That is where it starts. The everyday decisions of life is where Satan tries to get a foothold. We need to let the fear of God run our lives entirely and that will leave Satan with no room to step in. For further encouragement I would recommend reading Isaiah 41:10.