There is a direct, inseparable relationship between sound doctrine and saintly living, something scripture teaches clearly and consistently. The reverse is also true – where there is false belief, there will be sinful behavior. – John MacArthur, Biblical Doctrine
In the process of looking at how far I have fallen and returning to my first love, it’s clear to me how important the opinions of others have been to me! The Bible describes this sin as the “fear of man” in verses like Proverbs 29:25, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
I know that a snare is a trap to take things captive. When researching the word, I discovered that there are two kinds of snares. One uses a rope, which either captures the feet or the neck. The other type of snare uses a net, either to camouflage a pit to fall into or to fall on top of the thing being captured, preventing escape. Quite the picture!
One fear of man trap I am by faith avoiding now and in the future is believing my desire to be obedient to God means I think I am better than others. If God has given me the desire to seek him with all my heart, pushing him away in response to the ridicule of others is a direct insult to the grace he graciously gave someone so undeserving! I would never want someone to think I was holy, or to think I thought I was holier, but if someone considers me a “goodie two shoes” and all I’m doing is trying to love God the best I know how, I can’t do anything about the way they feel.
Of course, loving God with all my heart requires acting in love towards others. I believe now that it is far more important to desire to please my Savior then to try to appease everyone who may misunderstand my intentions or motives. Previously I was trying so hard to not offend anyone. I thought that was loving. I thought it would gain me an audience to maybe one day present the gospel by trying to be like the world in whatever ways I could find common ground. Well, it did not gain me an entry point for speaking the gospel! It did however give me plenty of opportunities to succumb to multiple temptations from the world and my own vile fleshly desires.
To correct this faulty thinking, I have clung wholeheartedly to a couple of scriptures. I praise God for his holy word! Philippians 2:14-15 ESV “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” And another, John 15:19 ESV, ” If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
These versus sent the truth into my heart that my job is to obey God, which brings me joy! Blending in with the world is NOT the way to be a witness! I will fear God and let him deal with the results and the opinions of others. Maybe God will see fit to use THAT as an opening to share the Gospel.
Thanks for your patience as I figure out this blogging thing…