What is your greatest fear? People often dwell on this question to get at the heart of a problem in their lives to seek to tackle emotional or psychological problems. Is it really helpful to dwell on this?
Can our desire to get to the heart of a problem or issue – to seek to know and understand the causes of anxiety – actually precipitate further anxiety and an unhealthy obsession with the failings of ourselves or others?
A particularly sensitive issue in many people’s minds is how they are perceived by others. This constant desire to please others in order to be well-regarded and have a good reputation can become self-obsession. While this could be presented as putting others first, ie. having a great concern for another’s point of view – it can actually evolve into an unhealthy narcissism. The reflection of ourselves in others eyes becomes more important than what is actually lying under the surface.
Why should we fear man, or fear what others might think of us? I’m not suggesting that we become a brazen and uncompromising personality who has no regard for the feelings of others, instead realise that seeking to please man is a fruitless and meaningless endeavour. Why would we fear man, whose opinions and judgements of others are formed often without knowing the person, sometimes without even meeting them? Whereas God sees and knows all, He looks deep into our hearts and can see into our thoughts and predict our actions even before we consider them – yet he judges us with mercy and compassion and forgives us for all our wrongdoing when we turn to Him in faith.
Fear God, for He is righteous in all His ways, he judges justly with mercy and compassion and loves each person equally, regardless of our fears or failings. When we fear only God, he gives us the courage and ability to live for the glory of God.
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’ (Ephesians 3:20-21)
‘I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.’ (Deuteronomy 32:3-4)
Phobia image: (The Confidence Alchemist)