Thursday, March 23, 2023

Who Do You Fear?


By: Donna Bucher

This past week as I read through the gospel account of Jesus' last week on earth and His subsequent betrayal, trial, death, burial and resurrection, I was struck with a different kind of fear: The Fear of Man.

In all four Gospels, we read about the Apostle Peter's denial of Christ after Jesus’ arrest. Having read the account many times over the years, I often wondered how Peter, one of Christ's closest friends on earth, could have denied and forsaken Him.


But this time, the answer to that question became crystal clear: He feared man.

This thought caught me off guard because after all, Peter traveled with Christ, preached in His name, healed in His name; people knew he was a disciple of Christ.

Why attempt to deny his association after Christ's arrest?

Jesus plainly told His disciples what was to come, that He would be arrested, and delivered up to death all in fulfillment of prophecy.

What drove Peter's sudden change of loyalties?

Fear of man or "people pleasing" is a well-worn scheme of satan. Jesus warned Peter that satan would "sift him as wheat", trying his faith in Luke 22:31-32.

We all have a deep-rooted weakness for the praise and approval of others. Satan is a master at exploiting this little weakness.


This story of Peter's denial boasts a warning for us, too, for God hates people pleasing.


In Galatians1:10, the Apostle Paul addresses this issue and reminds us we cannot please God AND man.


In John12:37-44, Jesus rebukes the Jews for their unbelief, because they feared man, choosing the praise of men over the praise of God, thus blinding their eyes to the true Messiah.

So how do we defeat the fear of man and toxic desire to please people?

First and foremost, be honest with yourself and God regarding your tendency to "fear" man by seeking to please people to receive praise and acceptance.

Confess this sinful weakness to God and allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen you against this temptation.

 Secondly, consider the following steps for properly "fearing" God and protect yourself from this subtle sin.


" And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

Colossians 3:23-24

Care More About What God Thinks. Instead of fearing the disappointment and disapproval of others, consider your relationship with God as His child. What will please or disappoint Him? 

Do What God Says to Do. People pleasers seek to do the will of others, if you fear God, you seek to do His will. Which behavior will keep you close to Him, help you become more like Him, serve Him?

Maintain Your Integrity. People pleasing is a life of duplicity, altering your demeanor, speech or actions before certain people to "fit in". People pleasing sacrifices sincerity, honesty and integrity. Choose instead to be authentic.

Obey God Publicly and Secretly. People pleasing can lure us into using God only to gain the attention of those we wish to impress. We seek to "appear" godly on social media, at work or with certain groups of people. Only to forsake God in our secret life. In the same way we need to be authentic with others we need to be authentic with God.

Value God's Reward Over Man's Empty Praise. Instead of seeking praise and applause for your efforts from men, let your motivation be to serve God with your whole heart. God will not withhold any good gift from those who live to please Him.

Seeking to please God does not release us from loving people. Jesus gave us the perfect guideline in Matthew22:37-39: ultimately, we love God with our whole being and others as we would ourselves. Loving God with our whole hearts, seeking to please Him, while loving people sacrificially, frees us from the driving need for the approval of others or fearing their rejection.

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Reflection Questions:

In what ways do you fear man, looking for acceptance from others instead of God?

What changes can you make today to change your people pleasing ways?

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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  1. Donna, thank you for this reminder of whom we need to be pleasing. People pleasing is so easy to fall into. Thank you for the reminder of where that comes from. 💚🙏💜

    1. Thank you for reading and your kind words! It is so easy to fall into people pleasing, I needed this reminder myself lately!!

  2. Donna, this is lovely and is something I needed to hear as I am a recovering people pleaser. I appreciate these tips. Blessings. {{Hugs}}


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