How To Overcome the Fear of Man

I stood up, tears streaming down my face. I was scared spitless and more intimidated than anyone around me knew. 

I was in a new place, a new church, and it was Sunday. I was enjoying the presence of the Lord; His glory was thick. The choir and worship team were so anointed, and I was overcome with the presence of the Lord and His manifest power.

Suddenly, I heard Holy Spirit’s voice in my spirit. 

“Stand up and worship Me,” He said.

I looked around me. A huge congregation. A mega-church. Probably close to 2,000 people were there that morning, maybe more.

All of them in the congregation were sitting down. And I wasn’t exactly sitting in the back, where no one could see me. I was about six rows from the front. Everyone could see me.

The voice came again: “Stand up and worship Me,” the Lord insisted.

I fought it on the inside. I was so embarrassed even at the thought of sticking out like that. It was obvious I would stick out like a sore thumb if I stood up to worship. I would be the only one. SURELY the Lord didn’t want me to be the only one, I reasoned. 

But no, He did. His voice wouldn’t leave me. And although I was terrified:

  • Terrified about what other people would think;
  • Terrified to embarrass myself;
  • Terrified to make a spectacle of myself …

I finally realized that I had two choices, and only two choices.

I could obey God … or sin by disobeying Him.

Those were the only two choices I had.

So with trembling knees–knees that trembled partly under the power of God and partly from quaking in fear of what other people would think–I stood up. Tears streamed down my face and I lifted my hands to the Lord, tuned out all thoughts of the people around me, zeroed my thoughts in on the Lord, and worshipped.

With everything I had, I worshipped. 

Worshipped while everyone around me sat down.

Worshipped while I knew people were looking at me and talking.

Worshipped while I knew people wished I would sit down.

I worshipped, standing on my feet, because the Lord told me to–and because He is worthy. Worthy:

  • to be obeyed;
  • to be worshipped; and
  • worthy for me to give Him my best, whether the people around me were worshipping Him at all or not.

After that day, that scenario repeated itself just about every week. 

Each week, it went the same. I would:

  • Go to church.
  • Sit down in worship service.
  • Hear God say to stand up and give Him my best worship.
  • Agonize on the inside over obeying Him, knowing that really I had no choice. It was obey or sin. No two options about it.
  • And each week I would stand up and worship, whether anyone else was or not.

You know why learning to worship God in public was so hard for me? Because I was overcoming the fear of man.

I had a lot of reasons to be afraid of people.

Fear ruled my life at that time, and it was a fear I had come by legitimately. When I was a child, I had been bullied really badly. Even during my teenage years, I experienced so much bullying that I began to have suicidal thoughts.

I learned young that what people thought of me made a big difference in my daily life. I learned that, if people didn’t like me, I would be miserable–because people were mean and they did everything they could to help make me miserable.

But you know what else I learned from being bullied?

I learned that, no matter what I do or who I am, not everyone is going to be happy. No matter what I do, someone, somewhere is going to be mad:

  • Even if I’m nice, that won’t make people be nice to me.
  • Even if I wear all the right clothes, that won’t make people treat me any better. 
  • I can kowtow to people’s needs, serving them all day long until I’m blue in the face, but that won’t make them like me.

I can even refrain from being who I am and doing what I’m called to do–just because some people are insecure and don’t like it when I “be” who I am and do what I’m called to do …

… But even that, in the long run, won’t make people like me. It won’t make people approve of who I am or what I do.

Like the oldies song about the garden party, I learned that you just can’t make people happy. 

So when the Lord began to deal with me about worshipping openly, I knew I would take some flak for it (and I did). I knew people would talk about me (and they did). I knew it would embarrass me at first, when I went to stand up and worship when nobody else was.

And it did.

But I also knew that “what people think” is a fickle thing. “What people think” changes. It has no basis in reality; it’s based upon people’s:

  • preconceived notions;
  • traditions;
  • the way they were raised;
  • the demonic strongholds they’ve embraced;
  • the truths of God’s Word they have embraced;
  • unhealed hurts and wounds;
  • bad day;
  • bad breakfast, bad coffee, bad marriage, bad laundry day, and a myriad of other things.

You can’t make people happy. So, I decided to make God happy instead.

So I stood up and worshipped, week after week, arms oustretched, tears streaming down my face, knees knocking. I stood and blessed the Lord with everything I had. NOBODY knew the cost of that oil. Nobody knew where I had been, what my life had been like, or what the Lord had brought me through. But Jesus knew, and He is worthy of all the praise I can ever give Him, the rest of my life. 

And I’ve been worshipping ever since.

But I had to overcome the fear of man in order to go deeper with God and obey Him.

The fear of man is just that: fear that is centered not on sin or the enemy forces of hell, but rather fear of people:

  • Fear of people’s opinions;
  • Fear of people’s comments;
  • Fear of people’s thoughts;
  • Fear of people’s perceptions about you;
  • Fear of what people will think in any area;
  • Fear of not being liked; etc.

I could go on and on. The fear of man is that fear that tells you not to obey God because of “people.” It’s the demonic idolization of people that keeps you from obeying God. 

Fear is a demon, by the way, not an emotion. And the fear of man is completely demonic.

The fear of man tells you to put what people think, will think, do, or will do in front of GOD. Fear of man is idolatry; it sets PEOPLE in the decision-making throne of your life, instead of allowing GOD and His Word to be the decision-makers in your life. 

And the fear of man will keep you from being who God made you to be, doing what God made you to do, and having what God made you to have …

… if you let it.

But you can get free from the fear of man.

Here’s how:

  1. Ask the Lord to show you where you have been operating in the fear of man.
  2. Ask the Lord to remind you very clearly what HE has been telling you to do in every situation.
  3. Repent to Him and confess your sin in allowing “people” (or the thoughts thereof) to dissuade you from your destiny.
  4. Repent to the Lord and confess your sin of disobeying Him in every area where He has told you to do something, but you didn’t do it.
  5. Ask the Lord to forgive you.
  6. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit where that was (VERY IMPORTANT STEP).
  7. Invite the Lord to convict you and help you to obey Him INSTANTLY the next time He asks you to do something.

Overcoming the fear of man is simple. It’s about Lordship.

Who is going to sit on the throne of your life? There are only two options: Jesus or not-Jesus. If JESUS sits enthroned on your life and mine, then we will obey Him the instant He tells us to do something. 

But if “not-Jesus” (anything or anyone other than Jesus) sits on the throne of your life, then you will talk yourself out of obeying God. You will often refuse to obey Him, all because the enemy is deceiving you–and because you have allowed something to be greater in your life than Jesus is.

Overcoming the fear of man is a discipleship issue. It’s a Lordship issue …

… Because either Jesus is Lord in our lives, or He’s not. And if He is, then He deserves to be obeyed. If He is Lord, then we MUST, in fact, obey Him as soon as He speaks. That’s the literal definition of “Lord”: to be our Boss, Master, Sovereign, Ruler, and King.

“Lord” means Jesus is in charge …

  • Whether people like it or not;
  • Whether people like you or not;
  • Whether people like me or not;
  • Whether people get offended or not;
  • Whether people, people, people say anything OR NOT.

It’s all about Jesus. 

Heaven help us.

Church, some of you are holding back because of what others may think.

You’re operating in the fear of man. You aren’t starting your ministry because you aren’t sure if starting a ministry is an acceptable thing to do in your church circles. You aren’t being who you are because there are people in your life who have an inner need to keep everybody under their thumb, so you walk around and pretend to be less–pretend to be a small thing–to satisfy their sick, inner need for attention and control.

But there are no small things in the Kingdom. God made you to be a GIANT, and you’d better get at it.

Some of you are even fighting depression.

The Lord showed me as I was writing this that some of you have given up temporarily on being who you are. You’re thinking that you’ll just wait awhile and try again later. Problem is, you’ve gotten depressed and you don’t know why! But you know what? You’re depressed because you’ve staunched the flow of God. You’re depressed because you’ve quenched the Spirit in your life. You’re depressed because you’ve told the Creator that His creation in you is not acceptable to you at this moment … because what will people think?

Selah.

Beloved, you’ve got to overcome the fear of man.

And you can only overcome the fear of man by embracing the holy fear of Christ Jesus. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The Bible says so in Proverbs 9:10:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

And if you’re reading this today, the Lord wants you to know that you’ve come to a crossroads.

Right now is a PIVOTAL, kairos time in the Body of Christ. It’s a pivotal time in your life. You need to move forward, not go back or stand still. 

But you can only move forward if you begin to fear the LORD and not man. 

Listen to Holy Spirit. Pay attention to His voice. Honor HIS voice, and no other.

You’ll be glad you did. That, and only that, is how you overcome the fear of man.

Is the Lord dealing with you today about overcoming the fear of man? Are you ready to abandon the fear of people and walk only in the fear of the Lord instead? If so, leave a comment below!

Similar Posts

23 Comments

  1. Due to my European traditional background I’ve definitely developed the fear of man. Mans opinion meant everything in our household. However I am determined to be set free from this demonic spirit. Thank you for sharing Jamie making me feel understood, as I have gone through similar experiences, and quite frankly still am.

    1. Going thru that on my job. Yesterday I was publicly humiliated in front of my entire corporate peers. I cried so hard behind closed door that I was hyperventilating….never had I gone thru such traumatic hurt. I really need prayer to overcome my fear of my boss and the constant assassination of my character.
      Please pray for me.

  2. Very good!
    Yes, you have to be filled….

  3. Thatayaone Tahla says:

    Truly, the devil uses fear as one of his best strategies to try to divert God’s children from walking in God’s ways. But if we can always meditate on the book of Matthew 10:28 which says,” And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” we will always overcome him. This scripture really encourages us to always bear in mind that we are God’s creation and our lives are in his hands.

  4. Antoinette Smith says:

    Such a good word!!!!! In these coming days we need the gifts stirred up in us to reach people. It will take boldness and obedience. Jesus is coming and we are God’s laborers!!!

  5. Lariechelle Lopez says:

    Hi Jamie, I was bullied before and perhaps that made me isolate myself from people. But praise God for reminding me to obey Jesus wholeheartedly. I’m still in a process of healing. I want to express who I am to other people without overthinking what their thoughts about me would be. I’m a jubilant person, often this personality is depress when I encounter new or not so close people.

  6. I thank and praise The Lord For this message. I have been dealing with a issue with walking in where God wants me to be. I am in ministry (worship leader ) and my husband is a Pastor . I have allowed the enemy to tell me I don’t know enough about God’s word to walk in my calling. I came out of a traditional church that doesn’t believe in women doing more than singing and anything else outside of the Pulpit area. But I know God has called me to more. I have allowed what men would say to cause me to be stagnant in obeying God. But I am convicted by the Holy Spirit to heat the voice of God over man. I will not allow men to drive my decisions anymore for where God has destined for me to be. He has given me music to put on Cd and my heart desires to write a book(books) and own my own business. I just want to please God. Thank you for this testimony today. It has ignited something in me. Fear will no longer rule me in Jesus name I pray Amen.

  7. I have been letting the fear of man keep me from obeying God. I commit to obedience to my Lord. Thank you, I needed this, this morning.

  8. Marjorie Welch says:

    The Lord is definitely dealing with me in this area, in fact, I heard that Scripture passage about not fearing man because I grew up fearing my earthly father’s anger and didn’t like myself, always compared myself to others, lacked true confidence and had very low self esteem. I find myself fearing what others will think or what they’ll say alot. this testimony was very helpful because I have struggled in this area for a long time.

  9. You hit the nail on the head with this and I thank God for using you to speak this Word. The fear of man is definitely holding us, including myself, in our worship. This definitely spoke to me and I pray by His grace that I can obey and give myself totally to worshipping the Lord as only He deserves.

  10. Linda Slaten says:

    That is so true! Funny, i and husband living in motel. When i look out window i see 75/24 split. Talk about a crossroads! Has been a battle to worship God. Havent been to church in about 6 weeks. Part work, not enough gas and some just trying to figure out why im here physically and spiritually. A lot of fear comes from my husband. He is pro legalism. Kjv only hymns only, no women preachers. Anytime weve been in church together, he has put me down as a worshipper. I really pray someday he will know that kind of freedom and Gods prescense. Even thought about visiting your church, since im in east ridge. Hungry for Gods prescence! Anyone know how to spell prescence? Really love your articles. God Bless!

  11. People pleasing has been the fruit of my fear for many years – mainly with relatives. It has hindered me from speaking up and even speaking the truth in the past. God is still delivering me from this fear. Such powerful insight and truth in this post. Thank you!

  12. Oh Dear, this is sooo what i have been struggling with for several years and i am soo done with the fear of men ! I am done done done with it! I do not want to be afraid of being the person God called me to be any longer! Fear has to leave me and my family right now in Jesus Name! Thank you so much for sharing this post i needed this message today! God Bless your obedience !

  13. Robin D. Freeman says:

    Thank you and may God continue to bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you…

  14. Thank you very much for the message. I was so interested to read it all through. I fear most times about what people think of me the way I am. I have been a single mum with one son and am still a single mother living with my parents. Sometimes I fear what people might think about me stil being single and living under my parents roof with my son. Thank you again for this message. God bless.

  15. This post touched me and made me cry. So many of your posts do that! I have been in fear of man my entire life. I too was bullied in school when I was younger and I feel that has had an effect on how I behave to this day. I worry very much about what people think. So much so that it feels like living in chains sometimes. Fear of man has stopped me from doing many things in my life. I am going to pray the prayer that you wrote and reflect on your writing today. I want to live for Jesus only.

  16. Hi Jamie, I am guilty of allowing the enemy to make me a victim of fear. All of my life I was in the shadows of bullying and name-calling, I was shy because of the names that I was called, I would not smile, I carried a frown all the time and I had very little friends throughout high-school and college. Now that I’m in my 50’s I do not have but one lifetime friend and she has been the only person that has never judged me and her mother was an evangelic pastor. Therefore, she could understand me and see past my faults and the fact that i was overweight. I am a beautiful woman but could not see that because of the names I was called in school. Your message touched my heart because one night during a revival at church that i was not even a member of at the time, I felt the spirit of the Lord speaking to me to tell me to worship Him in praise, I didn’t know how. So I just stood up and moved along with the music and waved my hands closed my eyes and the tears began to flow, all of a sudden, the words began to come from my mouth, shouting Hallelujah, Thank you Jesus, Hallelujah, Thank you Jesus, repeatedly, I felt someone putting tissues in my hands and guiding me from my seat and anointing me and praying with me. It was the best feeling in the world to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for this message because this is what everyone need to hear. This is so true and absolutely wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!! I praise God for my home church of Bibleway Full Gospel Missionary Baptist Church.

    1. Sister Ann, that is a beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing it! I praise God for blessing you. He will continue to do so every time you ask Him to!
      Love,
      Jamie

  17. Chestener says:

    This is timely. This happens on many levels. I believe the Lord has dealt with me and cleared a few levels. I know what your feelings were as I read your story…I have been there. I confess my disobedience at times. I had to go to another part of my state for work…so much more to that story ….I just needed to be in the Fathers house. I found myself at a church that as I drove up, parked, walked to the doors and upon entering I was stared at. I went in found a seat…no sooner had I sat down than a usher? tell me what ways of worship were not accepted in ‘their’ church. However the Lord met there and I did raise my hands and I did stand to worship HIm. However I never returned to ‘their’ church. I am who God created me and He made no mistakes in that, I choose not to attend a church that doesn’t look like what God said His church looks…all peoples, tribes, etc…..don’t believe me? then you need to read that Bible you say you read. Racism is surely a fear of man and not just to those who are the brunt of it, yet rather those who are scared to stand and say it is wrong. And in God’s people…to support and believe it yourself is surely proof you have been lied to, stolen from and deceived and suffer from the fear of man. There is no place in God’s people for it…again…got a Bible? read it. Yes! may we ask for deliverance from the fear of man, may we confess that sin ( disobedience) repent and come out from among them. This is one major level and in each of our lives this fear of man has many levels and faces. Praise God He is ready and willing to deliver and free us from them all.

  18. Sonja R Campbell says:

    I sometimes am weighing things out. I asked the Lord if he wanted me to speak to a man with a lump on his back and that I needed it clear( I was out in public.). As I approached the man he got up and was walking towards me. I knew that was God’s answer to speak to him. He barely seemed acceptable of small talk and seemed to want to go away. I felt that the Lord was saying his touches need to come in layers, so I didn’t didnt pray for him. I only want to say as much as I sense God wanting me to say.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.