Book Review: When People are Big and God is Small by Edward Welch

peoplearebigI wanted to share some of my reading and give you a small book review on the latest book I’m working through, ‘When people are Big and God is small’ by Edward Welch. So far the introduction has been very enlightening and very thought-provoking. Something that I have come to expect from this author.

He opens the topic by addressing the area of need(s). This area alone is worth the price of the book in my opinion. He easily puts his finger on some very sensitive areas. At least he did for me! So I’m going to list them and give you time to think about it and then I will post a review of chapter two. Enjoy!

He references the following under the heading: Great Awaking and facing the fear of man. When you read the points I think you’ll understand why and agree with him on it being an awakening.

Quote: “It is true, what or who you need will control you” pg. 14

  1. Have you ever struggled with peer pressure? “Peer pressure” is simply a euphemism for the fear of man. If you experienced it when you were younger, believe me, it is till there. It may be submerged and revealed in more adult ways, or it may be camouflaged by your impressive resume (your perceived success).
  2. 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.
  3. Do you “need” something for your spouse? Do you “need” you spouse to listen to 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.
  4. 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 opinions. You need them to fill you up.
  5. Do you ever feel as if you might be exposed as an impostor? Many business executives and apparently successful people do. The sense of being exposed is an expression of the fear of man. It means that the opinions of other people-especially their possible opinion that you are a failure and are able to control you.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. Do you get embarrassed? If so, people and their perceived opinions probably define you. Or, to use biblical language, you exalt the opinions of others to the point where you are ruled by them.
  9. Do you ever lie, especially the little white lies? What about cover-ups where you are not technically lying with your mouth? Lying and 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.
  10. Are you jealous of other people? You controlled by them and their possessions.
  11. Do other people often make you angry of depressed? Are they making you crazy? If so, they are probably the controlling center of your life.
  12. 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?
  13. Aren’t most diets, even when they are ostensibly under the heading of “health,” dedicated to impressing others? The desire for the “praise of men” is one of the ways we exalt people above God.
  14. Have all these descriptions missed the mark? When you compare yourself with others people, do you feel good about yourself? Perhaps the most dangerous form of the fear of man is the “successful” fear of man. Such people think they have made it. They have more than other people. They feel good about themselves. But their lives are still defined by other people and not God.

Enjoy……Pastor Jess

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