We Need People More than We Love them

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Not much time today to get wordy, so just three things that really struck me from “When People are Big and God is Small.” I’d really like to own them in my life.

“To really understand the roots of fear of man, we must begin to ask the right questions. Instead of “How can I feel better about myself and not be controlled by what people think?” a better question is “Why am I so concerned about self-esteem?” or “Why do I have to have someone — even Jesus — think I am great?” (pg 19)

“The most radical treatment for the fear of man is the fear of the Lord. God must be bigger to you than people are. This antidote takes years to grasp; in fact, it will take all of our lives.”
(pg 19)

“Regarding other people, our problem is that we need them (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God). The task God sets for us is to need them less and love them more. Instead of looking for ways to manipulate others, we will ask God what our duty is toward them.” (pg 19)

The one thing that stuck with me the most is the statement about needing people more than loving them. How does that hit youi?

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The Way of Peace

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There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is the great venture. It can never be safe.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “No Rusty Swords”

People Will Reject Me

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I fear man. That is all there is to it. I fear man.

It has been a theme in my life for – well, all my life. I could go back to various events and relationships in my past and try to hang the blame there. But that doesn’t really change anything. It might find the original source of my fear but the blame for still struggling with this stays with me. I am the one that has allowed that fear to continue to be present in my life. AND I HATE IT.

I’ve been reading and studying and developing tools to help me with this sin. Recently I began to read a book that I read several years ago. When People Are Big and God is Small is packed with profound truth. Insights that are so true that I often think he is talking about me when I read them. And when I read them I think, “There are others who need to hear this and know about this!”

So I’ll be sharing some excerpts from time to time that really resonate with me. If they do so for you as well, say so. Why impacts you? Leave your comments so we can grow together.

One observation that I came away with after reading this chapter was that when we fear other people, the truth of God becomes irrelevant in our life. God’s Word loses it’s impact. We step away from what is true and into self-deceit, which eventually will end in sorrow for us.

Excerpts from Chapter 3: “People Will Reject Me”

“Sometimes we would prefer to die for Jesus than to live for him. If someone had the power to kill us for our profession of faith, I imagine that most Christians would say, “Yes, I am a believer in Jesus Christ,” even if it meant death. The threat of torture might make people think twice, but I think most Christians would acknowledge Christ. However, if making a decision for Jesus means that we might spend years being unpopular, ignored, poor, or criticized, then there are masses of Christians who temporarily put their faith on the shelf. “Death is not imminent, so why hurry into such a rash decision?” “There will be time later to get things straight with God.”

In other words, kill me, but don’t keep me from being liked, appreciated, or respected.” (pg. 39)

“Teenagers are constantly making unwise decision because of it [fear of man]. Adults, too, look to people for their cues. We wait for others to take initiatives of love. We spend too much time wondering what others may have thought about our outfit or the comment we made in small group meeting. We see opportunities to testify about Christ, but we avoid them. We are more concerned about looking stupid (a fear of people) than we are about acting sinfully (fear of the Lord). (pg. 40)

“Paul was not a people-pleaser. He was a people-lover, and because of that he did not change his message according to what others might think. Only people-lovers are able to confront. Only people-lovers are not controlled by other people.” (pg. 41)

“People are our idol of choice. They pre-date Baal, money, and power. Like all idols, people are created things, not the Creator (Rom. 1:25), and they do not deserve our worship. They are worshipped because we perceive that they have power to give us something. We think they can bless us.” (pg. 45)

(Referring to the Israelites as they came out of Egypt) “God, they thought, would not be able to keep pace with their desires, and so they looked for blessing and satisfaction in something they felt they could control. They wanted to do it their way rather than God’s. That is the height of rebellion.” (pg. 45)

“We never expect that using people to meet our desires leaves us enslaved to them.” (pg. 46)

“What we fear shows our allegiances. It shows where we put our trust. It shows who is big in our lives.” (pg. 47)

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