Proverbs 29:25 (NIV) says:
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
The fear of man, or the constant pursuit of the approval of men, is a snare (a trap that is hard to see) for so many Christians. The first problem with seeking men’s approval is that men’s opinions constantly change. We are seeking to please those who are often displeased with themselves. The second problem is that by looking to men for our salvation, we displace God as our redeemer. Jeremiah 17: 5 tell us:
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”
This says that not only will we fail when we look to men to establish our worthiness, but we also naturally turn from God. We cannot rely on the approval of both. It will be one or the other.
The good news is that God is not looking to condemn us. His heart is to heal us. Do not accept that “I am a people pleaser” or “I have a type-A personality”. These are simply masks that we place on the fear of man. Ask God to deliver you from this fear and he will heal you in a mighty way. He will keep you safe!
For more teaching on this topic, I encourage you to listen to the Gateway Church message “Breaking the Snare of Fear” by Stephen LeBlanc (10/26/2013).