“The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.”
Proverbs 29:25 The Message(MSG)
Have you ever been afraid to step out and do something for God, because you were so afraid of what others may think of you? Have you ever let that fear disable you to the point that you don’t step out and do what you feel the Lord is asking you to do? I have. There have been so many times in my life that I have not done what I felt like the Lord was asking me to do, because I was so afraid of what someone might think of me. There have also been times in my life that I have been afraid of doing something because of what someone might NOT think of me, but that’s a whole other topic for another devotion!
Maybe you are like me, and after reading this verse it gets you thinking about how man’s opinion can so easily disable us. As I reflected on this verse before I began writing this devotion, I was struck by a simple question in my own life. How many blessings has the enemy robbed from me, because I didn’t do what I was asked to do by God due to being disabled by my fear of man’s opinion?
I am reminded of the story of Nehemiah. The news had traveled to him that the recently liberated Jews who had gone back to Jerusalem were not doing very well at all. The walls of Jerusalem had been torn down and the gates had been burned. The Bible says that Nehemiah sat down and wept, mourned, fasted and prayed for days. He then decided he had to do something. The story goes that the king asked Nehemiah, who was the king’s cup-bearer, why he was so long faced. He went on to ask him if he was depressed or sick. Nehemiah explained the situation about his homeland and the king asked what he wanted. Nehemiah then asks if he can go to Judah and rebuild it. The king asks how long will it take to do that and what was the expected date of his return. The king approves the trip and Nehemiah goes on to ask for letters for the governors across the Euphrates to authorize his travel, and letters to help secure the timber he would need to rebuild the Temple fortress, the wall and the house where he would be staying. The king obliged.
Now, there were two men who become very upset about this turn of events. Their names were Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite. We later read in the book of Nehemiah how these two men tried to distract and demean Nehemiah and the work he was doing. I love Nehemiah’s response in Nehemiah 2:20.
“I shot back, “The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You got no say in this – Jerusalem’s none of your business!”
Nehemiah 2:20 The Message (MSG)
I would have loved to see the surprise on their faces at this confident, bold, almost arrogant reply! You see, Nehemiah could have been disabled by the fear of their opinions, but instead, he knew that God was backing him up! He was trusting in God, so his mind and his heart were protected by that trust! He could have let fear totally disable him when it came to telling the king what he wanted to do, but he didn’t. Again, he was bold and confident in his replies and in his requests.
Have you ever heard that saying, “Don’t tell your dreams to just anyone”? It is so true! Not everyone will understand what God has called YOU to do! They will not understand your passion level; nor will they understand your Godly dreams and desires that God placed in YOU! If He’s asked you to do something, or if He’s made you passionate about something, then be prepared for the naysayers, the critics and the doubters. But oh, how I love Nehemiah! He just keeps rebuilding the wall and he prays a prayer that can be found in Nehemiah 4:4-5. Can I just stop right here and challenge you to read those verses in The Message Bible? Thank you!
But I love how Nehemiah’s authority, the king, not only said yes to his request, but he also did what he could do to help Nehemiah complete the task! Everyone has someone who they are submitted to. If you don’t, you should. No one is above being accountable! The respect in this relationship is admirable, and most definitely God made a way for Nehemiah in every aspect!
Nehemiah did not let man’s opinion disable, detract or demean his work and neither should you! Tell the devil to back off, and take that leap of faith and do what God has called you to do! In the words of an old gospel spiritual, “Keep on keepin’ on!” You can do this! How about instead of disabling fear, why don’t you DISABLE fear?!
(Think about disabling a bomb. You must know which wires to cut! You can’t cut the wrong one or you will be saying, “Houston, we have a major problem!” The same is true in our spiritual life! We have to know which voice to turn off in our head! You can’t listen to the enemy’s voice and expect to have peace! You can’t listen to the enemy’s voice and expect that you will want to forgive that person! You can’t listen to the enemy’s voice and expect that he will give you Godly advice and divine direction! You can’t listen to the enemy’s voice and expect that you will walk out in faith and do what God has called you to do! Cut the wire on that voice! Disable that fear! Disable that pain, hurt, worry, doubt and anger! How about instead of fear disabling you, why don’t you disable fear! Take that devil!)
Written By:Melissa McKinnies