Fighting Our Fear of People

Christ gives us a parable in Matthew 12:43-45 that I often think of whenever I am fighting a sin (this is essentially the second part of a two-part blog. For the first part, click here.)

“When an evil spirit comes out of anyone, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.” – TNIV

You see, we were meant to be fearful people. Fear, in this sense, doesn’t necessarily mean being frightened, words like worship, awe, and reverence are closely tied to this idea of fear. So we were created to worship and to fear, and there is no use trying not to, because we will fear something. Therefore, we must learn to place our fear in the place it was meant to be if we are to ever make progress in fighting our fear of people.

Just like a 102 degree fever is only the outward symptom of something going on inside the body, our fear of people is an outward symptom of something going on inside our hearts. We are struggling with a wrong belief which is causing the symptoms we see. So, in this case, what is that wrong belief?

At the end of the day, I’m convinced my inward faulty belief is essentially Justin-worship. You see, I care about what others think and say about me not primarily because I am worshiping them, but because I’m worshiping myself. I am the one who is important, I must garner the praise, adoration, and respect of those around me. So, when I worry about what a given person thinks of me as I write this blog, it’s more about me then them. If people think I’m clever, witty, and profound then they’ll make much of me. I’ll be thought well of, I’ll be important, I’ll be the center of attention.

This is idolatry, plain and simple. I want to be made much of, I want to garner people’s attention. But biblically, this is only a place God should hold. I should be concerned about making much of him, of glorifying him, not me. John says in his gospel, “He must become greater; I must become less.” This is the firepower we need. Quick fixes and how-tos might help for a day or week, but real lasting change in this area will come as we seek to make more and more of Jesus, and less and less of ourselves.

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