The difference between strong believers and weak believers has to do with fear. Fear is a powerful word, just the mention of it makes people sit up and take notice. The Bible describes two prominent fears, one is the fear of man and the other is the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man will prove to be a snare…” I am pausing in the middle of this verse on purpose, because I want us to really realize how truthful this statement is. The fear of man will prove to be a snare. Have you ever feared someone and did what they wanted out of fear of their response, reaction, or resistance to you? I have and the Bible is right, it proved to be a snare.
What is a snare? The Hebrew word for snare is moqesh and means a bait, lure, barbs, trap, noose, hook. That means when we have the fear of man we will go where they tell us, we will be trapped in something we feel like we can’t get out of, we will be lured in, it will be like a noose around our neck. The fear of man will prove to be a snare. It does not start out as a snare, but it will reveal itself eventually. This is not what someone else is doing to you, this is what happens to you when you operate out of the fear of man. Fear of what they think of you, fear of how they will respond to you, fear of what they might do to you. Fear is a punisher when it is attached to man (mankind). People pleasers have the fear of man for example.
Now listen to the rest of Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but those who trust in the Lord is safe.” This ties to our second fear, the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is your safe place. The fear of the Lord is not about living as a monk in a cave, it is about where your are rooted, what foundation you are standing on. Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” The fear of the Lord makes you strong internally, so you can be generous externally with people. Fear of man is a shaky foundation, but the fear of the Lord is what makes you strong. The fear of the Lord is trusting God, obeying God, being rooted in God and the fruit of this foundation is loving people, giving grace to people and serving people, not for their affirmation, but from the affirmation you receive because you fear the Lord.