Topic: Proverbs 29:19-24
"Fear of man is a dangerous trap, but to trust in God means safety" (Proverbs 29:25).
One of the delegates attending a lay institute for evangelism protested that he was not going to go out into the community to share his faith, something he had never done before. I assured him that he was not required to go; it was simply an optional assignment. But I explained that if he would go along and observe a more mature witnessing Christian, he would learn something and would feel greater freedom in the future to witness on his own. Again he expressed his fear, but he did go, and God marvelously used him and his witnessing partner to introduce two people to Christ. He came home absolutely radiant, joyful, overflowing with thanksgiving and praise to God. He came to me immediately to say, "I am so glad that I went. I would have missed one of the greatest blessings of my life had I not gone. Thank you so much for encouraging me to go."
The number one barrier to witnessing in the Christian life is the fear of man. Think of the contradiction. It never occurs to the average Christian that not to witness is to disobey God, and the consequences can be devastating to his spiritual life. Therefore the average Christian risks offending God for the fear of offending man.
It is interesting that there are 365 "fear nots" in the Bible - one for every day of the year. And yet there is one fear in particular that thwarts effective witnessing for Christ more than any other - the fear of man.
It would not be a distorted picture to envision thousands - and even millions - of believers caught in that dangerous trap referred to by the psalmist. And what a deadly snare! Martin Luther, years ago, found a solution to this deadly enemy:
And though this world with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us
The prince of darkness grim -
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
Our trust must be in God whose indwelling Holy Spirit helps us not only to trust Him, but also to share the gospel with others.
With God's help, I will share His love and forgiveness with others with the confidence that having called me to be His witness, He will enable me and will prepare the hearts of those to whom I go.