The Fear Of Man Will Keep You From God’s Pleasant Places

“The lines of my boundary have fallen in pleasant places; surely my inheritance is delightful.”- Psalm 16:6

When God has something wonderful for you, how do you think the enemy reacts?

By bringing fear!

Nehemiah chapter 6 is a textbook example.

Nehemiah was right in the center of God’s will doing exactly what God wanted him to do. How did the enemy respond?

My sending Sanballat, Tobia and thier friends!

What do Sanballat and Tobia represent?

Accusation and intimidation, with the purpose of bringing fear!

One of the chief ways the enemy tries to keep us from the incrediable things God has for us is by introducing fear!

Fear and faith cannot coexist in the same environment. Every wonderful thing that God gives us comes to us by faith. Is it any wonder the enemy sees our faith and tries to replace it with fear?

One of the chief weapons in the arsenal of our enemy is “the fear of man”.

“The fear of man will prove to be a snare!” -Proverbs 25:29

The enemy is well aware that we’re easy prey to the opinions of others and has made our fear of other people’s opinions of us a central tactic in his battle as he wars with the children of God.

The enemy knows that all it takes is a disapproving look and a little intimidation (especially when it comes from another brother and sister in Christ) to cause us to give up and retreat from the faith adventure that God has laid out before us!

Such is the power of the fear of man!

I’ve gone too far to turn back now!

Having just had the greatest spiritual awakening that I’ve ever had in my life, I decided I wasn’t going to allow other people to keep me from anything that God had for me. I’d rather deal with the disapproval of other people, then lose the golden crown that God gives to those who walk by faith.

Consider these contrasting truths found in Proverbs-

  1. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
  2. The fear of man proves to be a snare.

Now which do you think is the better choice?

If you want to take the easy road forget about what I’m about to tell you. If you’re not afraid to fight some giants in order to possess the promised land that God is giving you, continue reading!

Take another look at the verse I started with.

“The lines of my boundary have fallen in pleasant places; surely my inheritance is delightful.”– Psalm 16:6

When the Holy Spirit first brought this verse to mind I was already walking in some very pleasant places. God had literally exploded into my life in ways that I could only call miraculous.

Pleasant? Yes! Delightful? Yes!

I realized that just as the verse said, I was standing in the middle of this spacious place that was more wonderful than anything I’ve ever experienced before!

It wasn’t that there weren’t boundary lines, it was just that they went further out then I could ever imagine!

Within the fenceline that God has put around me are some absolutely amazing things to be discovered if I’m just willing to go forward and possess the land!

Ever-increasing Faith!

God uses our previous steps of faith to build our trust in Him to believe for ever greater acts of God. Having once seen God move a mountain, it’s not hard to believe He can do it again!

During the time God began to speak to me from Psalm 16 about His “Pleasant Places” I had already spent an entire year following Him on a path that most people would consider foolish. What I did didn’t make sense and seemed totally impractical and irresponsible. At the time it even seemed crazy to me! But as I look back, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and given the opportunity I would do it all over again.

I had ventured out in pure faith and God responded by doing miracles!

Seeing what God did ignited my faith for “greater things” and God began to speak to me about our “limitless God”!

“Do not set a limit on me!”, He said. “I will limit you by the boundaries I set, but do not limit me!”

God puts up the fenceline and lets us run without limits within the boundaries He’s set!

Wow!!!

Did you notice who the boundary setter is in the verse that I started out with?

It’s not other people! The crazier your “faith walk” looks the more opposition you’re likely to get from other people.

God is my boundary setter.

That being the case, I’m not going to let other people fence me in and constrict the space God has given me!

I should have no limitations other than what He has set.

A Word Of Caution

This is a good place to point out that the Word of God is the final authority on all things.

Just because something is crazy doesn’t mean it’s from God! Just because something is crazy doesn’t mean you’re walking by faith!

If the Word of God prohibits what you are about to do, you are out of the will of God, no matter how pleasant the place you’re in looks to you!

The pleasant place that God gives you will always fall within the boundaries of what’s allowed in the Word of God, there are no exceptions. Use the Word of God to test your fenceline. God will never tell you to do something that contradicts His own word!

Within the boundaries of God’s word, however, He is known to sometimes call us to things that may seem crazy to us! Maybe even impossible!

If I’m convinced God has spoken what will I do?

Once I step out in faith, I can be sure others will speak up in fear!

At that point I will have to choose- The fear of God, the fear of man, my own fear.

If His boundaries for me have fallen in pleasant places, why should I restrict myself to something smaller than He has given me? If I put up a fence in my life that’s smaller than the fence that God has put up, I end up getting less than what He wants for me! Why would I ever do that?

If I let other people limit me, and put up fences around me with their opinions or things they say, then I’ve made them God in my life instead of the Lord!

I have allowed them to tell me what my boundaries are, instead of God. If I do that I shouldn’t be surprised that my boundaries no longer fall in pleasant places!

Whenever I allow my own fear or the fear of man to build a fence within God’s fence, instead of the wide open spaces God gives me to run in with unrestrained freedom, I find myself fenced in and trapped in a place so small I’m barely able to move!

The fear of man is like me willingly confining myself to my backyard when God has given me a city!

“For he was looking for The City which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” -Hebrews 11:10

God never asked me to live in my backyard. He also never told me to live in someone else’s backyard.

HE BUILT A CITY!!!

And it’s BIG! And it’s PLEASANT!

And it’s amazing, because He’s the one who designed it and built it!

The only thing He ever asked me to do was to surrender my heart to Him. And if my heart is truly His, I’m free to EXPLORE!

So I began to pray, “If this thing in my heart delights YOU, if it pleases YOU Lord! If what I desire makes YOU smile God!”

You can’t lose with a prayer like that, because you’re only asking for His will to be done. If that’s where your heart is at, then you have nothing to be afraid of!

But praying like that can be kind of “dangerous”, right? Since God’s ways and thoughts are exponentially higher than ours, you better get ready for an adventure! And don’t be surprised if you decide to follow one of these possible “God thoughts” if people start to look at you like you’re crazy, because you will appear to be!

People are more than happy to jump right in and start building fences around me “to protect me” even from what God has for me! Sometimes it feels dangerous to me too, so it’s easy to think they’re right.

But just stop and think for a minute…

How dangerous could it really be if in my heart I really only want the will of God? If I’m surrendered and all I really want is His will, why should I be afraid? He’s given me a broad and spacious place to run in! I should be happy about that and go for everything He has for me!

Did God give me this broad and spacious place to trick me? Did he say, “Look, I’m giving you all of this! But be very, very afraid!”

I don’t think so!

A Heart Of Faith

Only Joshua and Caleb spied out the land and returned with a heart of faith and freedom!

They saw “the pleasant place” God had given them and wanted ALL of it!

If you worry too much about the opinions of other people, there’s a good chance that you may never cross the Jordan at all. The land beyond the Jordan is flowing with milk and honey, but you have to believe that God is really giving you the land. You have to believe that the fenceline God has built goes beyond the Jordan and encompasses a great land yet undiscovered. You have to trust that God is wanting to do amazing things!

Or you can just be afraid and sit on the other side of the Jordan convinced by your own fears and the fear of man that God never intended to give you the land. You can tell yourself that God put the Jordan there to keep you from crossing it! You can tell yourself the Jordan is God’s way of building a fence!

“God wouldn’t possibly want me to cross a river as great as THAT!”

Once you’ve convinced yourself that the Jordan was placed there to keep you from crossing it, there’ll be a lot of people to tell you you’re right!

Of those sent to spy out the land, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who thought possessing the land wasn’t crazy! Everyone else was sure they were wrong!

“God doesn’t want you to do THAT! You’re going to face some pretty big giants if you do THAT! Come on, be reasonable. What you’re doing doesn’t even make sense! What are you even thinking???”

Both my experience and the Word of God tell me that God is really good at, and loves doing, impossible things!

It’s not my first time at the spititual rodeo! I’ve had well intentioned friends rise up and say, “Don’t ride this horse!”

But I got on and rode it anyway!

And it wasn’t impossible! I didn’t limit God, and He didn’t limit me! He gave me a broad and spacious place and I ran in it! And all these years later I’m still running in it. I’m still doing things that people don’t think I should do. I’m defying common sense and what seems practical. I’m looking at the impossible and deciding I’m going to do it anyway.

When you stop at “it’s impossible” and “it doesn’t make sense” you will get exactly what seems reasonable to you. But God tells us that His ways are HIGHER than our ways and His thoughts ABOVE our thoughts, so you might have missed out on some pretty awesome stuff by being “reasonable” and “practical”. You will feel very safe in your 50 acres, but you will never know what it’s like to have the thrill of exploring and discovering the 10,000 acres that God had for you!

Never limit God. If He wants to limit you that’s one thing, but never limit Him.

Limited by fear

Even more limiting than our own fears is the fear of what other people will think

“The fear of man will prove to be a snare!” Proverbs 25:29

I like how that verse is put. It says, “will prove to be”. You see it’s not always readily apparent. Initially, when we let others fence us in, it can make us feel safe, and like we’re doing the right thing, but in time, it will prove to be a snare. There will come a day when we will look back with regret that we let the fear of man keep us from the things that God had for us!

Thank you that you opened my eyes to see LORD! Thank you that you freed me from the fear of man!!!

“When I was fenced in, you freed and rescued me because you love me.” -Psalm 18:19

Amen!

This is the most freedom I have ever had in my life! I went all in with God and said, “Whatever you want is what I want!” And I actually meant it! And He said, “Don’t limit me!” and I said, “Okay!” And He started tearing down fences!!! And He tore so many down that as far as my eyes could could see, there was no fence in sight!!!

He said, “Don’t worry! There’s a fence there, you’re safe. Limit yourself by My Word. THAT’S YOUR FENCELINE. Not your own thoughts, not the opinions of others.”

So He’s tearing down my fences. And yeah, it’s a little scary, cuz suddenly I’m in Uncharted Territory! I’m in a place I’ve never been before! It’s a wide-open field that appears to go on forever. It requires me to “trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding!”

That’s hard, because honestly it doesn’t always make sense! There might even be some valid reasons to be afraid. Joshua and Caleb had some legitimate reasons to fear. I’m sure they prayed about their fears. I’m sure they told God all about what they were afraid of. And I can hear God saying, “Yeah, there’s that, but be strong and courageous for you are well able to take the land!”

Not only did they heed the voice of God, but they started repeating what God said to them in their hearts to the point that not only did they believe it, but they started saying to others what God had said to them. THAT is the essence of faith. They followed in the footsteps of Abraham!

“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised!” -Romans 4:20-21

Maybe God’s treasured blessing requires me to go all the way out to the fence line! To go further by faith than I ever thought I could or would! Maybe He’s got something out there for me that will blow my mind, and exceed my wildest expectations!

All I know is that the will of God for me is better than anything I could ever come up with myself. At this point I don’t care if it makes sense to me or anyone else. As long as I’m living uprightly before God and according to His word, I want EVERYTHING He has for me.

If God has given me 10,000 acres to run in and called it a spacious and pleasant place, then I want it! I don’t care what anyone thinks! I want the whole field that God gives me!!!

I never have to be afraid when it comes to what God gives me, because His hand is always connected to His heart.

If He says to me, “Here you go Mike, I’ve prepared a place for you to run in, I’ve planted flowers, and trees, and made streams that will delight your heart. You see this land before you? I’ve given you ALL of it! Possess the land and enjoy it! Everything in it is yours! The whole thing!!! ” If He does that, and someone comes to me and says, “What are you doing?” and tries to bring fear, then I say, “The lines of my boundary have fallen in pleasant places; surely my inheritance is delightful!”

God sets my boundaries, not man!

But what if I’m wrong? What if my “walking by faith” is nothing more than my imagination and I haven’t heard God at all?

What if!!!

The words that stop more adventures before they start than anything else!

If I’m wrong, then guess what? My God is good! I’m not afraid if I miss it! I’m not afraid if I’m wrong! God has still said my boundaries fall in pleasant places and He “causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose!”

In other words, “He will work it out!”

So stop being afraid! And stop letting other people make you afraid!

As long as I am following His Word, I’m as free as an eagle in flight! I can soar on the wind of His Spirit and not be afraid! I can run in the land that He has given me! I can fail, I can fall, I can miss it, but He will never fail me!

My boundaries have fallen in pleasant places and nobody’s going to take that from me! I’m on a Holy Spirit adventure and I’m going for the whole ride!

Thank you Lord Jesus!