God is for you, and He wants to see you succeed! Are you going to live for His applause or for the applause of men?
“The Lord says, ‘I am the one who strengthens you. Why should you fear mortals, who are no more enduring than grass?’” (Isaiah 51:12 TEV)
One way to overcome the fear of rejection is by keeping the right perspective. You can listen to the opinions of others, but never overvalue what they say.
In our verse today, Isaiah says our life here on Earth is temporary, so why be afraid of other people’s opinions? Other people are not God, and their opinions aren’t going to last, anyway. The secret to success is to outlast your critics.
Isaiah says if mortal men put you down, don’t worry about it. God is the one who counts. Don’t assume that their judgments are infallible or straight from God. You don’t have to automatically accept someone’s criticism. You ought to judge it for what it’s worth.
Why am I saying this? Because when people’s approval becomes all-important to you, you’re setting yourself up to fear rejection.
The Bible says, “In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 TEV) If you recognize how much God is for you, it gives you the ability to withstand tremendous rejection.
For some people, all that matters is popularity, fame, or applause. “What do other people think of me? How do I look to everybody else? Image is everything!”
If you live that way, you are at the mercy of everybody else’s judgments. If they think I’m a loser, I must be a loser! If they think I’m a dork, I must be a dork! I don’t want to live that way — do you?
God never intended for you to live that way. He says, “What are you listening to them for? They’re just mortal men. I’m the one that counts. They are no more enduring than grass.”
Paul says his goal in life is to please God, not men: “Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God’s approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
He says I have a choice. I can choose whether I’m going to live for the applause of God or the applause of men.
Who are you more interested in pleasing? The crowd or God? Paul says you can’t seek the approval of both at the same time. You have to decide who you want to impress. Just remember whose applause is “no more enduring than grass.”
God is for you and he wants to see you succeed!
Talk It Over
- What is the difference in being affected and being directed by others’ opinions?
- What would being directed by the opinions of others look like? Why do you think that could cause problems in your life?
- How does our culture try to convince us that it matters so much what other people think of us?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.