Gideon: Freedom from Fear of Man

I love the biblical story of Gideon. And I think it’s because I identify so well with the man. So many people I know possess special gifts for leadership.  Gideon did not have anything of the sort.  Gideon was just a regular guy.  I am not one of the classic “type A” personalities that most people look to in a leader.  I am not a “driver.”  I am full of fears and concerns for myself and others.  I am often far too concerned about what others will think and fear acting alone.  I am a Gideon.

Me at Gideon's stream, where God pared back his army to an unthinkable low.
Me at Gideon’s stream, where God pared back his army to an unthinkable low.

At the beginning of Gideon’s story, we find him hiding in a winepress threshing wheat.  This would have given Gideon a place to hide from the Midianites.  His fear drove him into hiding.  He was not the sort of guy who would have naturally confronted an enemy no matter whether the odds were in his favor or not.  I fear confrontation and avoid it like the plague.  In order to do what God wanted, Gideon had to learn to trust God.  Thankfully God was merciful to Gideon and helped him start small.  The test of overthrowing the statue of Baal in the village helped Gideon to learn to stand for what was right.  God has done the same for me.  Instead of throwing me at millions of Midianites, he gives me small challenges that I’ve learned to overcome prior to taking on the big challenges in my life.  Ultimately God has given me strength to overcome each milestone.

Here are a few applications that I’ve drawn from the life of Gideon:

  • Fear of man stems from a lack of trust in God.
    • Retain a sense of inability and rely solely on God’s grace for the task at hand.
    • Rely on God for confidence in the face of skepticism.
    • Rely on God for gifting in the face of inadequacy.
    • Rely on God for courage in the face of timidity.
  • Fear of man results in a failure to act.
    • Meet small challenges first.
    • Don’t keep asking questions when God is calling you to follow him.
    • Learn to rely on God by expanding your faith in him little by little.
    • Find a core group of friends who can help me meet these challenges, but do not place your faith in them.
  • Fear of man can be overcompensated.
    • When God gives you success and respect, don’t squander it on yourself.
    • When God gives you success and respect, invest in discipling your successors.

Ultimately, Christ alone stands as the supreme example of one who served without succumbing to fear of man or any sort of overreaction in the opposite direction. In his final hours he stood silent as accused, trusting the sovereign love of the Father. And he stands in my place as victor over this fear that I still, Gideon-like, do battle against.

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