Practical Ways the Fear of Man Distorts the Gospel
It’s official. In the Whiting house, the message of the fear of man/approval of man is everywhere. So hopefully, Reader, you don’t mind while we camp out here for awhile. We are seeking to apply it well as we sense God underline, highlight, and italicize this truth in our lives–
Fearing man’s opinions and living life to please people has the potential to distort the gospel and cause our hearts to desert Christ.
Paul states it beautifully to the church in Galatia:
“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, (see also Galatians 1:6-10 for this truth in the rebuke of Paul.)
So let’s get practical. In my life, it’s not a big moment when I distort the gospel and begin to desert Christ. It’s not as if I wake up in the morning and say, “Today, man’s opinion matters more than God’s and I’m going to treasure it more than the gospel.” No, it’s relatively small. It goes something like this:
- Someone compliments or encourages me in a gift or talent God has given and I soak in the praise, letting it validate my worth.
- Someone confesses to me a sin or a mistake and I *tsk tsk* and say, “Oh I’m sure you didn’t mean to do that. You’re such a sweet servant. Don’t worry. You’ll do better next time.”
- An unbeliever faces me in deep need of the gospel and instead I seek out the most comfortable way to tell them about Jesus. I seek to make the gospel pleasing and sneak it in.
Soaking up praise, neglecting to present truth, and softening the message of Jesus are the three ways I stumble most often. What are yours? Do you know them? In the days ahead I plan to tackle these one by one. Hope you’ll join me and pray that the Lord shows you the ways in your own life that pleasing man threatens your walk.