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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

The Fear of Human Opinion

"The fear of human opinion disables; trusting God protects you from that." - Proverbs 29:25 MSG

When my husband, Joe, and I moved into our home in Eastern Pennsylvania years ago, there were curtains on our front picture window that I really liked. They were a pretty "balloon" style, and they were printed with beautiful little roses all over. They complemented our living room wallpaper perfectly, and I decided that we would keep them. Then one of my longtime friends came over to see our new home. She looked all around our house, and she seemed pleasantly surprised at how nicely decorated it was. But to my dismay, she didn't say a word about my picture window curtains. After she left, I took a closer look at the curtains and noticed that they were faded in some spots. I even noticed some areas that looked worn and frayed. And I began thinking to myself, "My friend didn't like these curtains, with good reason. They look old, and they don't go well with the décor." Then I set about making plans to replace them. With Joe's help, I measured the window, and ordered custom-made vertical blinds in a color that would go well with our furniture and carpeting. I was sorry to see my flowery curtains go, but I kept telling myself that the new blinds would be a big improvement. The next time my friend came over, she noticed our new blinds and declared, "What happened to the lovely flowery balloon curtains you had hanging in the front window the last time I came? I had never seen such a beautiful window treatment before." My heart sank. I had convinced myself that my friend didn't like those curtains - even though I loved them myself - and I had taken them down and thrown them out, simply because I thought that she didn't approve of them.

Even though this incident happened many years ago, the Spirit of God often brings it to my remembrance when I begin worrying too much about what other people think. It's a habit that most people practice, even though they aren't always aware of it. And Satan and his minions use it as a weapon against us, to discourage us and get us out of the will of God. Solomon wrote, "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety." (Proverbs 29:25 NLT) Why is being too concerned about what other people think a "dangerous trap"? Because instead of consulting the Lord about a matter, and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will be led by what other people say and think, and we will miss out on the divine solutions, opportunities, and rewards that God had in store for us.

As Christians, we are called to follow in the footsteps of our Savior, Jesus, who said, "I do nothing without consulting the Father." (John 5:30 NLT) If the Son of God lived His life in total dependence upon the Father, how much more should we! Unfortunately, many believers think that God isn't interested in the small details of their lives, and the trouble with this kind of mindset is that what started out as a minor issue or dilemma, often turns into a major problem. David wrote: "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand." (Psalm 37:23-24 NLT) When we have the attitude that God wants to be involved in "every detail" of our lives - and consult Him in small matters, as well as in larger ones - even if we "stumble" and make a mistake, He will keep a tight grip on us, and make sure we don't "fall" to our destruction.

That day, when I assumed that my friend didn't like my original living room curtains, I threw away something I treasured. I cared more about her opinion than I did my own, and it cost me. These days, when I find myself in a similar situation, I search my own heart for how I feel, and I consult God for His perspective in the matter. I often pray, "What do YOU have to say about this, Lord?" And I listen intently for His voice, doing my best to follow His lead. I promise you that if you use the same strategy, you will save yourself a lot of trouble, disappointment, time - and money!

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for "fearing people," and caring more about their opinions than Yours, or my own. Ground me in Your love and truth, and guard me from feelings of insecurity and poor self-esteem that can cause me to make foolish and hasty decisions that I will regret later on. Help me to live a Christ-centered life, and teach me how to consult You about all the things You want me to. Work in my heart and mind so that I will truly believe that You always want what is best for me. Thank You that as I do my best to follow the leading of Your Spirit, I will experience the blessed freedom and rewards that belong to me in Christ!

- J. M. Farro


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