In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s El Salvador was filled with turmoil and violence. Civil war raged as opposing sides battled for control of the government. Human rights violations by both government troops and revolutionary troops were rampant. During this period, an estimated 100,000 people were killed. Political assassinations, government violence, and death squads were the environment in which our Pastor Jeff Adams and his family lived and were fully persuaded that God had called them to El Salvador to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. They lived out the passage from this week’s sermon:
Luke 12:4-5: And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Most of us will never have to endure physical persecution or threat of harm for the sake of the gospel. Most of us will not be called to live through a civil war. Most of us will never feel that particular fear. However, WE ALL struggle with the fear of man. Whether real or perceived, we all fear what others think of us and allow it to affect our lives. This week Jeff recommended a book for those of us who allow the influence of people to overshadow the influence of God. When People are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch is a great book on overcoming peer pressure, codependency, and the fear of man. Here is a list of questions that Jeff gleaned from the book:
- Are you influenced by peer pressure?
- Are you a people pleaser?
- Do you have self-esteem issues?
- Do you second guess decisions for fear of what others might think?
- Do you allow people to depress you, make you angry, frustrated or otherwise drive you nuts?
- Are you often paralyzed by shyness or embarrassment?
- Do you try to assume too much responsibility for other people – fix them, rescue or save them?
- Do you intentionally avoid people?
- Are you so committed to keep peace that you avoid confrontation when it is appropriate to do so? (Like Jesus is doing here in Luke 12:4-12).
What is the main fear from this list that is controlling you and limiting all that God wants you to do in your life? I encourage you to find Bible verses that relate to the fear that controls you. Begin to meditate and pray over those verses that God will help you conquer that fear. Also, I encourage you to seek wisdom from other Christians that can help guide you through the process of eliminating the fear of man and begin to follow God with unashamed passion.
When People are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch is available at the Reality Living book store located in the Graceway lobby.