Recently, there’s been a few blog posts on Edward Welch’s latest book “Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest“. Just under 10 years ago, I read Welch’s “When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man“. The book spoke to me quite a bit and I bought a few copies and gave them to friends.
Both books have to do with counseling and psychology and Welch writes from a Reformed biblical perspective . I’m no expert in counseling and psychology but I have to say that the two books are thought-provoking and challenging. In my next post, I’ll quote from his Running Scared book. In the rest of this post, I’ll leave you some quotes from his When People Are Big and God Is Small 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. (p. 19)
[We] are controlled by whoever or whatever [we] believe can give [us] what [we] think [we] need. It is true: what or who you need will control you. (p. 13-14)
We’ve seen that whatever you think you need, you come to fear. If you ‘need’ love (to feel okay about yourself), you will soon be controlled by the one who dispenses love (p. 87)
Self-serving needs are not meant to be satisfied; they are meant to be put to death. (p. 162)
The Bible teaches that God’s people are no longer driven by terror-fear, or fear that has to do with punishment. Instead, we are blessed with worship-fear, the reverential awe motivated more by love and the honor that is due him. (p. 98)
The problem is clear: People are too big in our lives and God is too small. The answer is straightforward: We must learn to know that our God is more loving and more powerful than we ever imagined. (p. 113)
When you spend time in the throne room of God, it puts things in perspective. The opinions of others are less important, and even our opinions of ourselves seem less important. (p. 135)
Therefore, the first task in escaping the snare of the fear of man is to know that God is awesome and glorious, not other people. (p. 95)
If you have been in the presence of the almighty God, everything that once controlled you suddenly has less power. (p. 119)
This book challenged me to recognize that needing people is really fearing man and not God. As fallen human beings we all need people. We’re social beings. We want to be in a community of love. We want people to love and accept us. We want people to praise us. There are many times we seek man’s praises more than God’s.
I think there’s no doubt that God desires us to be a loving community. But I don’t think it’s so that we can all get our “fix” from others loving us, all of us living in a co-dependent state. But rather so that we can express God’s love through loving others.
Of course, all this is the ideal we strive for. Different people are at different stages in their life and walk with God. Different people come from different backgrounds and starting points. The book is definitely challenging, but probably not everyone is ready to read it. Those who have gone through a lot of hurts need to experience the grace and love of God, rather than be pointed and directed to the call of God to fear/worship Him and not fear or need man. It is God’s grace, after all, which empowers us to live for Him.