Pursuing Wisdom – Part 3
Review: Last week John 12:27-43 paraphrase.
Jesus said His soul troubled.
“Shall I say, Lord deliver me from this hour? Instead it was for this reason that I came to this hour!” John 12:27
Most of us ask God to deliver us from this trial I am in. But it may be that we are in this trial is sent by God for us to mine some treasure hidden that we have yet to find! Could it be that this trial you are trying to get out of is your greatest growth moment? That is why
“Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials. . .” James 1:2
ill. Lord I am in a mess. He says I can see that. Will you help me out of this? Sure but first let’s look around and see what treasures we can find. No I’d rather just go – now. God says hold on let’s just shop. Lord, I hate shopping. I know, but let’s just look. What is He looking for?
He is hoping we will have the joyful experience of discovering hidden wisdom in this trial that He could have stopped but He didn’t. He is hoping we don’t miss finding the treasure hidden in this trial.
Ill. When we were first married my wife liked shopping – to me it was a complete waste of LIFE! After years of prayer and fasting she no longer likes to shop! I finally figured out a way to shorten my pain. When she tried on the first dress I looked so amazed and said, “Wow, that is stunning on you. I have never seen a more perfect dress. You’ve got to get this one. . . That worked only one time. Women are much more discerning than men!
The point is God has hidden treasure for us to find even in our trials – we learn things about Him we did not know. Count it joy! This requires faith – trust – reliance upon the Lord’s promises.
Back to John 12 where Jesus realizes this hour of His agony was the reason He came. “Shall I say, Lord deliver me from this hour? Instead it was for this reason that I came to this hour!” John 12:27
Then He prays, “Father glorify Your name.” God speaks in an audible voice, “I have glorified it and I will again!” Then Jesus said, “This voice came not for My sake but for your sakes. Now judgment is upon this world . . .” John 12:30-31
The greater the manifestation of God’s Presence – the greater the judgment. It is the mercy of God that He does not always give an unmistakable sign from heaven. The greater the sign the greater the judgment if you don’t follow the sign or obey God’s leading!
3 groups of people heard 3 different things: God, it was just thunder, it was an angel. How could you miss the audible voice of God?
In John 12 scripture quotes Isaiah in referring to people seeing so many signs and obvious ways God is speaking yet not believing or trusting God. When you hear God and do not obey 2 things happen:
- Blindness of spiritual eyes and hardening of hearts. But this is not what I want to talk to you about today.
There was a group of people who did believe in Jesus yet they had a great hindrance in their life called the fear of man.
“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” Vs 43
ill. Here is Jesus and here are our friends. But it is not that simple. Our enemy knows how much we humans crave approval. Preachers are the worst. God is detoxing me from seeking the praise of men as my food source for my soul and self esteem.
Ill. Use to drive home with Pam after Sunday and hope she would say something like “Wow that was really a great message today.” The I would try and act like, “Well, praise God.” Sometimes driving home she would talk about other things and not even mention church. I subtly would ask, “What did you think about church today?” She would say, “the worship was good” and then not say anything else. I was left hanging. I so needed approval. I would ask, “So what did you think of the message?” “Oh it was good.” I needed more than that. “Did I come across clear? Did you think I went too long?” Then she might say, “You did repeat yourself a lot.” Ouch a shot through my self esteem. Then I wondered what other people were saying since she said this?
God has been detoxing me of needing the approval of people and the fear of men and what they think of me. The fear of man and what you think people think about you will hinder you from hearing God clearly.
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoso trust in the Lord is safe.” Proverbs 29:25
We all have at one time or still do experience this fear no matter how much we don’t want to admit it.
- F.o.m. can gag us into silence when we should speak up and witness. It can paralyze us when we should be taking action and yet we don’t do anything. We compromise where we shouldn’t.
“snare” trap to catch an animal. Satan knows your craving to want everyone to like you. Teen agers are not the only ones facing peer pressure!
- We need to question why do we fear man’s disapproval or crave approval from people? It could be trauma as a child, it could be fear of conflict, maybe you were abused, or just something you picked up along the way.
God will set you free from fear of man, but you will have to cooperate with Him.
Ill. I was always a quiet and passive child. Mom said I never gave her any trouble. I thought being a good boy was not talking back, speaking up and people would run over me and bully me and I did not fight back. What a nice boy! Finally God set me up in situations where I had to speak up, stand up and even fight in school.
Eventually became a Baptist Pastor thinking this is a stress free and conflict free job. After all everyone in church loves God and loves each other – no conflict – stress free! In every church – conflict.
I got stories I could tell you!
- With every conflict in church I would get so upset it made me physically sick after a while. Don’t think there is not a lot of stress in being the pastor! I have 3 heart stents and most of that is because of me not handling stress right and because of the fear of man snared me.
- God allowed and even planted me in the middle of conflict to personally teach me to overcome fear of man and being passive where I need to take action. These conflicts have been my teachers! I am still learning.
How do you overcome the fear of man?
1. First you recognize you have it. Confess it to God. He already knows it and will be glad you are willing to face it.
2. Why does this f.o.m have such power over us?
Because it reveals what your heart really craves. Could it be, You love the approval of men that you can see more than the praise of God you can’t see? We will always need affirmation from people but not at the expense God’s approval even when others are against you.
You obey the one whose approval you desire the most!
The one who you fear their disapproval the most, is your functional God!
This is why the Bible defines wisdom as:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10
Remember Jesus defined the fear of the Lord as worshipping God, or more aware of His Presence you can’t see than the presence of people you can see!
This is part of our wisdom training as we walk with God. He wants us to become fearless eventually. He knows this takes some time and some amazing experiences for us to get to the point where we trust Him more than we trust in man. He is a patient teacher!
Ill. I have always been inspired and can identify with the reluctant leader Gideon in the Bible. An angel of the Lord finds him secretly threshing his wheat in a hideout of an old abandoned winepress. The Midianites were enemies of Israel and at that time were the bullies on the block who would swoop down and steal your harvest after you collected it. This was your income and livelihood.
God appears as an Angel and must have shocked Gideon who thought he was alone. “Hail, mighty man of God!” Hey be quiet or the Midianites will find me. “The Lord is with you mighty warrior!!”
- The Lord sees things in us that we don’t see!
“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Judges 6:14
Gideon responds, “Me?” He goes on with excuses I am from the weakest clan in my tribe, I am the least experienced- blah, blah.
- God says, “Yeah, thanks for informing me.” God ignores all his excuses and simple says, “I’ll be with you.”
Can’t you see God smiling as He is thinking, “This is going to be so much fun.” And it was!
It gives God great pleasure to see us finally trust Him and defeat our fears and overcome our obstacles to reach our inheritance.
You like me are going to have to go through a process to get there. We are going to have to change the way we think. We need to see trials as a joyful necessity to get us to this place where we become fearless.
Fear of man is a snare. Hebrews 12 tells us in order to run this marathon journey with God we have to “lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily entangles us.” Hebrews 12:1
To over come your fear of man you need to increase your fear of the Lord! Meaning your awareness of His Presence. This may require more time in worship – more time just soaking in His Presence. Whatever magnifies the Lord in your life. You can’t make God bigger but you can make your view of Him bigger!
Ill. My reading glasses do not make the print bigger. They make my view of the print bigger!
The 2 most important questions to ask yourself is:
1. What has God been saying to me? (accumulative).
2. What is God saying to me? (presently).
This will keep from the snare of the fear of man. If you have heard from God – then why care what man has to say?
“We must obey God rather than man.” Acts 5:29 This calls for courage on our part. Courage is not the absence of the emotion of fear. It is just not allowing fear to keep you from obeying and trusting God and doing what He is telling you to do.
One of my inheritance scriptures is Joshua 1:9. This verse was given to me multiple times when we first began GT. I guess God knew I would need it.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Concl: “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoso trustiest in the Lord is safe.” Trusting God is safe though it may not appear to be safe. Trusting man is not safe.
God usually teaches us through the hard lesson of obeying Him in spite of being afraid. He does not remove the fear. It is your teacher!
When we finally learn to trust God rather than what we see or feel, then we can get to the point where we say what scripture says for us to say.
So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6
Boldness and courage come so that we can speak this out loud because of the Promise God has given us in the verse prior to this one.
For He hath said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Do you believe this? If so then there should be some corresponding action in your life.
- You live differently than others. Like Joshua and Caleb you have a “different spirit”. They were fearless while facing giants and the other 10 spies were afraid. The ten had the eyes on problems that they could see – Joshua and Caleb had their eyes on the God who you cannot see.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10