When People Are BIG and God is small

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It was 1997 when Ed Welch published his book, of which the post is titled after. Of all the books that Ed has written, this is by far one of my favorites.

Below is an outline that we’ll use this Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, to begin this bible study for our church family. If you’ve never read anything by him, this would be a first great read. Follow this link for a bio of him:

https://www.ccef.org/about/people/ed-welch

“The opposite of love for others is an inordinate love for self; ‘love for self’ is simply fear of man. The reason why we are incapable of loving others as we ought is because we fear them, that is, we have an unhealthy reverence for them more than God.

  • Are you over-committed? Do you find that it is hard to say no even when wisdom indicates that you should? You are a “people-pleaser,” another euphemism for the fear of man.
  • Do you “need” something from your spouse? Do you “need” your spouse to listen to you, love you, respect you? Think carefully here. Certainly God is pleased when there is good communication and a mutual honor between spouses. But for many people, the desire for these things has roots in something that is far from God’s design for his image-bearers. Unless you understand the biblical parameters of marital commitment, your spouse will become the one you fear. Your spouse will control you. Your spouse will quietly take the place of God in your life.
  • Is self-esteem a critical concern for you? This, at least in the United States, is the most popular way that the fear of other people is expressed. If self-esteem is a recurring theme for you, chances are that your life revolves around what others think. You reverence or fear their opinion. You need them to buttress your sense of well-being and identity. You need them to fill you up.

Are you always second-guessing decisions because of what other people might think? Are you afraid of making mistakes that will make you look bad in other people’s eyes?

  • Do you feel empty or meaningless? Do you experience “love hunger”? Here again, if you need others to fill you, you are controlled by them.
  • Do you ever lie, especially the little white lies? What about cover-ups where you are not technically lying with your mouth? Lying and other forms of living in the dark are usually ways to make ourselves look better before other people. They also serve to cover our shame before them.
  • Are you jealous of other people? You are controlled by them and their possessions.
  • Do you avoid people? If so, even though you might not say that you need people, you are still controlled by them. Isn’t a hermit dominated by the fear of man?
  • Do you fear that others may disagree with you or not admire you? Do you intimidate others into agreeing with you? The endless jockeying of egos in the corporate board room is an aggressive version of fear of man.
  • Have you ever been too timid to share your faith in Christ because others might think you are an irrational fool?

Fear of man is such a part of our [fallen] human fabric that we should check for a pulse if someone denies it . . . God can fill you with his love, so you don’t have to be filled by other people.”

I’m looking forward to this study because I want to love God more and fear man less. Ed will pastorally walk you through scripture, showing you how to do this.

 

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