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A Saturday Recommendation August 19, 2006

Posted by larrylaz in Recommendations, Scripture Meditation.
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Saturday is the day for recommendations (at least that’s what Joe said a few weeks ago), so I thought I would take a few minutes to recommend a book I am currently reading called When People are Big and God is Small, by Ed Welch. I am reading the book to get my thoughts on the topic of the fear of man, which I will be preaching on for two upcoming Sundays at Joy.

Overall, this book is a good read. The only problem I’ve had with it is the title, or rather, the sub-title. When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency and the Fear of Man. The problem (which really isn’t so big of a problem) is that this sub-title seems to classify the problems of peer pressure, codependency and fear of man as separate things. Yet in the book, Welch makes pretty clear that peer pressure and codependency are just pop-psychology ways of diagnosing the biblical sin of fear of man. It seems to me, then, that his sub-title is a bit misleading. But as I said, that is a very minor issue.

The fear of man is a deeply serious issue, as the Scriptiures make clear. Heaven and hell is at stake in whether our highest desire is to be approved of by people or to seek the glory that comes from God alone. The Bible makes plain that both desires cannot co-exist:

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44). Jesus’ implication is, “You can’t believe; that is, you can’t be a follower of Me, if your thirst is for glory from one another rather than from Me.”

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). It is impossible to serve Christ faithfully if our desire is to be a perpetual people-pleaser.

Despite the warnings, many Christians seem to be enslaved to the opinions of others, and it manifests itself in countless ways. Welch does a good job of exposing the problem, and pointing us to the biblical solution: a healthy, robust, majestic sense of the fear of the Lord.

I won’t have time to share a lot of the insights from this book in my two messages, but if you know that you are a people-pleaser, and that your emotions go up and down based on how others perceive you, then I bet this is a book that you can profit from.

Please pray for me as I prepare to preach on this important subject on August 27th and September 3rd.

Longing to be satisfied with the glory that comes from the One and Only God,

Larry

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