Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Exchange Fear of People for Hope in God

Day 76

Exchange Fear of Human Beings for Hope in God

Men can do nothing against God, and God can make all that men do against his people, to turn to their good.[i]
Matthew Henry


esus made it possible for God to interact with us apart from judgment. Our Savior doesn't overlook our sins; He has removed them from us. When we come to God cleansed by the Blood of Christ, our Heavenly Father is freed to act out His perfect grace, mercy, love, and kindness to us, undeserving though we are.  

We fear the wrong things for ourselves and for our children. We are terrified that we won’t fit in; we fear rejection for how we look, what we believe, and how we live. We seek to camouflage ourselves so that our outward appearances might possibly escape negative attention; we want to look acceptable in the eyes in the world. How sad for us that when our goal is to be acceptable to our fellow human beings, we will never be happy. Our joy resides fully in our God.  

Hebrews 13:13 says that just as Jesus suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify us, “…let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.”  Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage says that we must go to Jesus outside the camp, willingly separate ourselves from the world’s ways, and by faith “…seek in Christ the rest and peace which this world cannot afford us.”[ii]

We have to fully accept that we are going to be different in the eyes of the world. We must give up the effort to conform to the world’s changing beliefs of what is acceptable, and release our fear of being rejected by human beings. Instead, as we place our trust in God’s protection and vindication, we are freed to make our primary goal to honor Him in everything we do. This is a life-transforming change of perspective; if we do not fear human judgment then we are freed to identify with Christ’s concerns for those who do not know Him, and for the suffering of those in need. 

God does not change, but our culture does. When Scripture-based truths are viewed as archaic, we must nevertheless stand firm in our belief that God means what He says. We err when we teach our children how to avoid suffering for being different; what we ought to teach them is how to suffer for Christ. Our lives should be examples of faith in the sure knowledge that human beings can do nothing against God (Psalm 118:6), and that anything they do to us will be turned into blessings by the awesome power of the Holy Spirit.

When we place our hope fully in Jesus for ourselves and for those we love, He will not disappoint us. Our only hope of peace with God lies with the One who suffered outside the camp. When we join him outside of conformity to the world and its standards, He will always make us a way through. When we turn from our fear of human judgment and place our hope fully in Christ, we will have peace.
Pray:  Lord I confess I have been more afraid of what people think of me than I have been of failing to live for You. I have been frightened that my children would be hurt by human rejection when I ought to have been afraid they would not learn of the richness of Your provision when they give You first place in their lives. Forgive me my lack of trust in You to take care of me and those I love when we don’t fit in. I choose to come to You, outside the camp. I choose to stand close to You, though You suffered. I choose to be identified with Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.[iii] Amen. 


It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
Psalm 118:8-9

[i] Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on Hebrews 13:8, public domain
[ii] Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on Hebrews 13:13, public domain
[iii] Hebrews 12:2

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