THE LORD IS IN THIS PLACE
Today’s Scripture: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Proverbs 29:25, ESV
Theme: Be faithful to what God has told you to do, knowing that you will not be able to please or convince every individual.
When we fall into the snare of trying to please men, we lose our ability to avoid the traps that take our joy and freedom away from the fear of God. Fearing other people over God drops the trap on us, as we fall to the bait. What is that bait? Here are some examples of what can entice us:
1. Fear of what others say about us. Are you constantly concerned about the opinions of others? If so, the trap is upon you. Remember, in that final day, man won’t be judging you. Your God will be the only One judging.
2. Struggling with decisions. Where are your decisive boundaries? By not worrying about the influence of others, you can utilize internal validation over external validation. Internal validation is enhanced when you love pleasing God more than man (see John 12:42-43). That is victory over indecisiveness, and the glory of God shows.
3. Learn to say No. Jesus, Himself, showed us an example of refusing to fear man, when He addressed the tax collectors (see Matthew 22:15-22). Render to God what we have learned of Him for what He is; Life, Wisdom, Love, Truth, Trust, Light. Continue to grow in God, and you will avoid the traps of man.
Bait is the opposite of freedom. We are free to find that absolute freedom in the joy of Our Lord.
Freedom also knows what is important to you. Freedom helps you pay attention to and be set free from your feelings. With freedom, you will not be driven by guilt, fear, or other people’s opinions.
Freedom is God.
When you find that kind of freedom, it becomes easier to forgo anything that is not in line with what is important to you. Things like being faithful to what God has told us. There is victory over the snares of man. While it may look like you are surrounded by the trappings of man, remember you are surrounded by the freedom of our God. I love the song which says, “This is how we fight our battles” (Surrounded/Fight My Battles by Elyssa Smith).
Another song that comes to mind from today’s scripture and theme is “Amazing Grace” by John Newton: “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come:‘Tis Grace has brought me safe thus far,And Grace will lead me home.”
Newton was dealt severe personal losses. He was entangled in the snares of man and the evils of slavery; and yet, he found a glorious conversion to the Lord. He wrote, in 1778 … “How industrious is Satan served. I was formerly one of his active under-tempters and had my influence been equal to my wishes, I would have carried all the human race with me. A common drunkard or profligate is a petty sinner to what I was.” It is worth reading about his conversion from slaver to cleric and abolitionist.
Make it Personal: The above two songs, this devotional assignment, and my personal quiet time this week have helped me make an easy decision to forgo the trappings of the fear of man. I turned down an offer that would have given me great renumeration. I was being wooed, influenced, promised, confronted, and praised—all in an effort to change this current path I am on. This situation became very personal. I looked at my notes, while writing this devotion, and was struck by the ease in which my decision of “NO” was manifested. Internal validation – sensing God’s leading and pleasure -- overcame the external. I trusted in the safety of the Lord. Joy and freedom are my rewards.
Pray: Almighty and Everlasting Father, please keep us from the snares that manifest because we fear man. Help us seek joy and freedom in the trusting safety of Your love. Keep us safe and secure from those who oppose Your goodness. Through Your spiritual guidance, help us validate our internal compass towards Your peaceful resolution with faithfulness to Your Word. All this we ask in the Name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
Read: Galatians 2:11-13, 1:10; John 5:41; Luke 12:4-5
Weekly Memory Verse: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Proverbs 29:25, ESV