And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. ~Galatians 2:13
One of our popular English idioms is the phrase “carried away.” It has the idea of taking a concept or practice too far. It can mean to lose self-control. It means to become overly excited about a current matter and go to an extreme in what you do. In our devotion this morning, we read that Barnabas and certain Jews were carried away by the insincere actions of Peter. Specifically, Peter was fearful of the biased opinion some Jews had towards his fellowship with Gentile believers. Let us see how the fear of man became a hindrance to Peter and others.
We see the rule.
In Proverbs 29:25, we see the rule, or principle, concerning the fear of man. The fear of man is when we cave in to peer pressure. It is when we allow the opinion of others to affect what we do. It is when we allow ourselves to be intimidated by certain rules, practices, or traditions. We fear criticism, censure, or condemnation. We fear being ostracized and marked in a bad way. We fear the loss of privileges and recognition. Peter feared reprisal and condemnation from the Jews for having fellowship with the new Gentile believers. His insincere actions, motivated by his fears, influenced others to be carried away in separating from the Gentile believers.
We see the risk.
“The fear of man bringeth a snare ” (Proverbs 29:25). A snare is a pit or trap. Peter became a stumbling block to fellow Christians. He used his influence in a wrong way. His disingenuous action misled Barnabas and other Jews and offended the Gentile believers. It caused a rift in the churches. It brought confusion to the saved and unsaved alike. Whenever we get carried away emotionally, we send mixed signals to other people and show a lack of spiritual discernment. Worse, relationships are divided and reconciliation can be difficult. Always remember that the fear of man brings a snare.
We see the rebuke.
When Paul saw how Peter’s hypocrisy was affecting others, he confronted Peter face-to-face and rebuked him for causing division, strife, and extremism. Whenever we get carried away in the flesh or in a foolish choice, God will use His Word, a preacher, or another spiritual Christian to bring this to our attention and to give us a stinging rebuke. Since Peter was a pillar in the church, he was rebuked publicly by Paul so that others would know that what Peter did, in effect, was a sin. If you are being carried away because of pressure or intimidation, now is the time to recognize that God does not want you submitting to this. Stop it, and let the Lord direct your heart into the love of God.
We see the responsibility.
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” Have faith in God’s Word! Trust God’s Word to protect and vindicate you. Trust in the Lord’s goodness and not in the pressures of friends. When we have faith in God, we are walking in the light and not in darkness. When we have faith in God, we are walking in the Spirit and will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. When we have faith in God, we live to please God and not to please men.
Do you get carried away by your feelings, fleshly impulses, and the fear of men? Bring your thoughts, feelings, and, most importantly, your faith in subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t be carried away: be led by the Spirit of the Lord!
Have a Spirit-led God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Exodus 10-12