Whom Do You Fear?

An excerpt from When People Are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch. This book speaks to me about my fear of man issues. Fear of man, meaning I care more about what people think of me, than what God thinks. Could use some prayer about this!

“Can a history of victimization intensify our inclination to fear people? There is no question that it can make some people more susceptible. But such a history cannot force us into the fear of man, nor can it prevent us from leaving that fear behind.

Jeremiah 17 is the classic biblical text on the fear of man. It reduces the decisions of life to two options: Will you trust in man or will you trust in the Lord?

Cursed is the one who trusts in man,

   who depends on flesh for his strength

   and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

He will be like a bush in the wastelands;

   he will not see prosperity when it comes.

He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,

   in a salt land where no one lives.

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

   Whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water

   that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when the heat comes;

   its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

   and never fails to bear fruit. (Jer. 17:5-8)

The Old Testament indicates that we stand at the crossroads between fear of others and fear of God. The road leading to the fear of man may be expressed in terms of favoritism, wanting others to think well of you, fearing exposure by them, or being overwhelmed by their perceived physical power. When these fears are not combated with the fear of the Lord, the consequences can be devastating. But when God is given his rightful place in our lives, old bonds can be shattered” (p. 70-71).

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