You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world…There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4: 4, 18-19 (NKJV)
Have you ever caught yourself being a man/woman/child pleaser? Let me put it like this: Have you ever found yourself about to do or say something differently simply because you wanted to make an impression or have people think better of you?
One way that might happen is this: You’re in the middle of a conversation or discussion and you know it would be good/right/beneficial to share a word of encouragement, exhortation – or you simply have a different point of view on a matter. However, you hold back, for fear others may think less of you.
In everyday life we are afforded these opportunities which draw us closer to the Father and toward the change necessary to grow us in His image and likeness. Not a single one of us is exempt. We are all very much human and, well, it simply is what it is.
I often find myself – after the fact – critiquing my every thought and deed, evaluating how I may have looked or sounded. (What a waste of energy!)
An example of this occurred at a recent meeting I attended wherein I raised a question in the midst of a particular discussion. I did not qualify or preface the question with any statements for or against, it was simply a question for which I had no answer. Period. The End.
Now here comes the potential “fear of man” part. There were a few responses and comments and I have to say that for a brief moment I had the feeling that I was wrong to have asked the question. It was very clear to me that the content of my question was not perceived as intended and that was 100% okay—at least on the surface.
In my head—for a few moments—I entertained the thought of clarifying to everyone that I agreed with them, for no other reason than my concern over what they MIGHT think of me. It’s not a good feeling at all to think others may be negatively or wrongly judging you. Yet, it happens all the time. Anytime we don’t agree with someone or they don’t agree with us, our flesh kicks into gear.
In my case, I chose to let the feeling pass…this time. On a different day I may have struggled or wrestled with it more or allowed my own idolatry “fear of man” “people pleasing” to stir up any number of negative emotions in me.
Praise God for sanctifying grace wherein He enables us to grab hold of the freedom we have in Him. I praise Him for every baby step of steps that draws us closer to Him and away from “stinky thinking.”
Dear sister, if you struggle in a similar way let’s intentionally do the following from a heart that is committed to image the grace of God:
Let’s thank Him today for the victorious Christian life and the hope and freedom found in Christ alone.
Let’s ask Him to help us stay out of our heads.
Let’s choose to draw near to Him and think His thoughts and remember that He is faithful to take all that we commit to Him and refine it in the fire of His burning perfect love.
Stephanie D. Paul serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America’s Keswick as Director of Women of Character. She has been married for over 30 years to Sesky Paul who is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. They have two grown children.
Her single focus in ministry at Keswick is to image Christ in grace and truth to wounded and hurting women, encouraging them to make Jesus the truest Lover of their soul and the One in whom all hope lies.