"I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who shall die, and of the son of man who shall be made as grass" (Is. 51:12).
One way to overcome the fear of rejection is by keeping the right perspective. You can listen to the opinions of others, but never overvalue what they say.
In our verse today, Isaiah says our life here on Earth is temporary, so why be afraid of other people's opinions? Other people are not God, and their opinions aren't going to last, anyway. The secret to success is to outlast your critics.
Isaiah says if mortal men put you down, don't worry about it. God is the one who counts. Don't assume their judgments are infallible or straight from Him. You don't have to automatically accept someone's criticism. You ought to judge it for what it's worth.
Why am I saying this? Because when people's approval becomes all-important to you, you're setting yourself up to fear rejection.
The Bible says, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31). If you recognize how much God is for you, it gives you the ability to withstand tremendous rejection.
For some people, all that matters is popularity, fame or applause. "What do other people think of me? How do I look to everybody else? Image is everything!"
If you live that way, you are at the mercy of everybody else's judgments. If they think I'm a loser, I must be a loser. If they think I'm a nerd, I must be a nerd.
I don't want to live that way—do you?
God never intended for you to live that way. He says, "What are you listening to them for? They're just mortal men. I'm the one who counts. They are no more enduring than grass."
Paul says his goal in life is to please God, not men: "For am I now seeking the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? For if I were still trying to please men, I would not be the servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10).
He says I have a choice. I can choose whether I'm going to live for the applause of God or the applause of men.
Whom are you more interested in pleasing: the crowd, or God? Paul says you can't seek the approval of both at once. You have to decide whom you want to impress. Just remember whose applause is "no more enduring than grass"
God is for you, and He wants to see you succeed.
Talk It Over
- What is the difference in being affected and being directed by others' opinions?
- What would being directed by the opinions of others look like? Why do you think that could cause problems in your life?
- How does our culture try to convince us what other people think of us matters so much?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit pastorrick.com.
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