Book Review part 2: When People are Big and God is Small

peoplearebigI didn’t provided this information in the first post so here it is now. I encourage you to buy the book and start building a solid christian library. This book will be especially helpful for pastors and ruling elders.

By now the Author certainly has our attention, or at least, he should have it at this point. Of course, his previous list is not an exhaustive one. I can think of more and will only add two for your consideration. Parents fearing their children and pastors fearing their congregation more than God. These two are just as common as those the author listed in his book.

Quote “Fear of man is such a part of our human fabric that we should check for a pulse if someone denies it.” pg.17

This review will complete the first chapter. Here is does a good job demonstrating that this is “a universal problem” and no one is exempt from its clutches.

He begins this section titled “a universal problem” with this paragraph,

“Don’t think that this is simply a problem for the shy, mousy types. Isn’t the angry person or the person who tries to intimidate also controlled by others? Any form of one upmanship qualifies. What about the business executive who is working to be more productive than the associate in order to get ahead? The endless jockeying of ego’s in the corporate board room is an aggressive version of fear of man. And do not think that the super confident, superstar athlete is somehow above seeking the good opinions of fans and sports writers? Aggressively asserting that you don’t need anyone is just as much an evidence of the fear of man as the more timid examples we have seen. Fear of man comes in these packages and many others.” pg. 17

One will find it hard to disagree with the Author at this point. He goes on to addresses the secular movement of “co-dependency” along with its secular counter movement of “co-dependency no more.” The “co-dependency no more” movement’s answer to weaning the masses off of dependency was to “love yourself more” the self-esteem movement. Is there a philosophy more successful than this one in America today? Hardly.

A philosophy many church members have embraced as the answer to having a fulfilled life.

The Author points out the church responded to the self-esteem crowd with “God loves you” but, he advocates that it wasn’t biblical enough to counter the tide of selfishness coming in it failed to meet the real problem.

“The love of God can be a profound answer to just about any human struggle, but sometimes we can use it in such a way that it becomes a watered down version of profoundly rich truth. For example, sometimes, because of shortcomings in us rather than in Scripture, this answer misses the call to “consider others better than yourselves” (Phil.2:13), or it ignores personal repentance. Sometimes it still allows us and our needs to be at the center of the world, and God becomes our psychic errand boy given the task of inflating our self-esteem.” pg. 18

Well said! In the rest of the book the Author presses the Christian to take this precious truth further. He skillfully argues, that Christians must embrace this important truth BUT also must take next step to maturity in Christ. Here are several themes the book will explore in the upcoming chapters.

To really understand the roots of the fear of man, we must begin to ask the right questions. For example, instead of “How can I fell better about myself and not be controlled by what people think?” a better question is “Why am I so concerned about self-esteem?” or “Why do I have to have someone–even Jesus–think that I am great?” These are topics we will look at from many angles through out this book, but included in the answer is the fact that we need a way to think less often about ourselves. We’ll talk about why–and how.

The most radical treatment for the fear of man is the fear of the Lord. God must be bigger to you than people are. This antidote takes years to grasp; in fact, it will take all our lives. But my hope is that the process can be accelerated and nurtured through what we will study in this book.

Regarding other people, our problem is that we need them (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God). The task God sets for us is to need them less and love them more. Instead of looking for ways to manipulate others, we will ask God what our duty is towards them. This perspective does not come naturally to any of us, and many of us need to look at this truth from several angles before we can see it. But the conviction of this book is that this truth is another of Scripture’s divine paradoxes –the path of service is the road to freedom.

So far the Author has given us many good reasons to read and study this book. Enjoy–and to God be the glory!

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