December 15, 2015

Overcoming the Fear of What Other People Think

Written by Shana Schutte

Overcoming the Fear of What Other People Think 12.15

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 15, 2015 

By Shana Schutte.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

Have you ever feared doing something you know you should do because you feared criticism? If so, be encouraged. Throughout Scripture, men and women who were called to act for God experienced criticism. When Moses led the children of Israel through the desert, he cried out to God because those who followed him blamed and criticized him (Exodus 17:4). Paul was labeled as overzealous, unimpressive in person and insincere (2 Corinthians 10:10). And, every one of the disciples was criticized and—with the exception of John—were criticized to the moment of their deaths. Remember this: If we insist on being comfortable by avoiding the criticism of others, we won’t fulfill God’s plans for our lives that will bring Him glory.

In his book The Believer’s Armor, John MacArthur writes, “You have all the resources, power and principles to live the Christian life. . . Even though power is available to follow godly principles, the enemy wants to withstand any good thing that God sets out to do. He will attempt to thwart God’s divine purpose for your life.” The Adversary likes to stop God’s children from fulfilling God’s plans for their lives through the fear of criticism. But God wants to give you the courage to say no to the fear of criticism and yes to Him. Isaiah 53:4 says that Jesus was despised, rejected, and not esteemed.

“Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.”

Jesus is well acquainted with the battle we face with criticism. Can you imagine what His life would have been like if He had feared criticism and been self-protective? After being mocked by political groups, old and young men, and spiteful Pharisees, He would have determined who He would associate with and what He would say in His final hours on earth. And, rather than keeping His mouth shut when He was falsely accused, He would have defended Himself. When His enemies spit in His face, He would have retaliated. When they called Him names, He would have called down a legion of angels. When they marched Him to Golgotha, He would have run. And rather than laying down His life to give His all to those He loved, the redemption of the human race would have been lost in His misguided passion of self-protection and the fear of criticism.

If you allow the fear of criticism to rule you, you can miss out on being a gift to others because God’s plans for you aren’t just about you. They are about people God wants to influence and help through you. So, if you struggle with the fear of criticism and what others think, ask God to give you the courage to move forward in the face of criticism. And remember, you are living your life for the approval of just One.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

Prayer:  “Lord, I praise you that you have given me everything I need for life and godliness, including the ability to face the fear of criticism and still obey you. Help me listen closely to you rather than be distracted by the voices of those around me. Amen.”

Application: If you fear criticism or what others think, find a quiet spot today and make a list of why you are afraid. Then submit your fears to God in prayer and let Him bear your burden. Then thank Him that you can do all things through Him because He gives you strength.

Related Readings: 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18; Psalm 27:1

Post/Tweet this today: Don’t let the fear of criticism rule you. #WisdomHunters #LiveForAnAudienceofOne

Worship Resource: 5 minute video- Crowder: My Beloved

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