This morning in my prayer time I felt troubled by what certain people think of me. Immediately, what came to mind was to think of a truth statement to battle the fear of man, and replace it with the fear of God. Here is what I came up with:
- I don’t need to please that person (fill in the blank) any longer because God says He is pleased with me and I am His beloved.
As I meditated on that truth, another verse came to mind: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Talk about a relief! When I read that I couldn’t help but feel accepted and free to be who I am today!
Staring into the book of Matthew as I read that verse, I kept reading… I am one of those crazy people who can’t just read one verse, so I read the chapters before and after. Here is what came to mind:
- When I stop striving and come to him, all the cares of this world melt into a much more manageable load!
- When I take the time to meditate on the Word of God, rather than approaching it as a to do list item, I experience tender mercies. I am His beloved and He is pleased with me, just as Jesus Christ is His Beloved… in whom His soul is well pleased! (Matt 12:18a). This Lord was so gentle to speak to my fearful heart and affirm the truth statement that came to me before I even read this passage.
- When doubts creep in I remember a promise. In this same section of Scripture we are told that John is in prison suffering. He sends his disciples to ask Jesus a question: “Are you the Coming One or do we look for another?” I am sure John had moments of doubt. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of God’s promises, just as John did. And the way I do that is go back to the answers God already gave me in previous times of doubt.
The last few weeks have been hard as I practiced some new ways to respond to certain situations; like how to not fear man, how to be honest about what I am thinking and feeling and what to do with my thoughts and emotions. During this time, I asked and sometimes implored God boldly, for help in more words than less. One way He helped was by reminding me of a verse he gave me 13 years ago regarding my marriage. Jesus’ response to John was similar, He reminded John what He was told in the beginning of his ministry.
Striving to please man is a heavy load to carry. It torments and nags at you! And I find there are certain people I am more driven to please for some reason – whether it’s the power they hold over me, or something they have that I feel I should have and in comparison I don’t measure up, or maybe it’s simply that I want to be accepted by them.
In one way or another, most of our desires or needs are legitimate but in order to truly please God I cannot please man.