We call it by a lot of different names: peer pressure, people pleasing, co-dependency. Proverbs tells us it is a trap into which we can easily fall. What is it and how can we be free from its grip?
Just as our sin nature blinds us to the danger of people-pleasing and co-dependency, we can be blinded about true freedom. Could something that looks like freedom actually bring you into bondage?
Isaiah 51 & 52
Fear, Freedom, Bondage & Co-Dependency
Isaiah 51 & 52:
Hope in Him
Verse 51.4 starts out:
“Listen to Me, My people;
And give ear to Me, O My nation.
We should be listening to everything God says in His Word, so I had to wonder why God would make it a point at the beginning of this passage to say, “Listen to me …” Perhaps, this is a little like us when we say to our children, “Look at me when I’m talking to you.” In other words, what I’m about to say is important. Give me your undivided attention.
Then He began to talk to His people about the hope they had in their coming Messiah. But their hope wasn’t just for the future. They were to put their hope in Him then. Verse 6:
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
And look on the earth beneath.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished.
Just as we are saved by looking back in faith on what Christ did for us on the cross, their redemption was based on faith in the One True God and the coming of their Messiah.
Instead of focusing on the strength of other nations, they were to focus on Him.
12 “I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?
13 And you forget the LORD your Maker,
Who stretched out the heavens
And laid the foundations of the earth;
Matthew 10 says it this way:
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
How much time do we waste “fearing man”? It’s a trap into which we easily fall. We may not fear what they might do to us physically. We fear what they think of us, what they might say about us, or how they might sin against us.
“If they find out I’m a Christian, they’ll think I’m a ‘goody-two-shoes’.”
“If I don’t have sex with my boyfriend, he might leave me.”
“If I give in to my wife, what will I tell the guys?”
“If I submit to my husband, he’ll walk all over me.”
“What would they think if they knew about my past?”
“If I don’t lie for my husband, he might lose his job.”
It’s been called people-pleasing, co-dependency, peer pressure, low self-esteem, keeping up with the Jones or being an approval junkie. The Bible calls it the fear of man. Continue reading