With that sin nature now entrenched in humanity, the next step was the innate desire to be worshiped—and so fallen man began to turn to one another for approval. That is why we tend to be so greatly affected by other people’s opinions of us; why our whole identity suddenly hinges on whether we are a success or failure in other people’s eyes. In fact, this lust for the praise of man has driven many to industries where they can live in a realm of applause and accolades. Although they may realize the trap of it by the time they reach some pinnacle of adoration, they nevertheless become addicted to men’s approval and can no longer live without it.
Consider how tragic it would be to stand before the Lord one day and have somebody we once knew look us in the eye and say, “You knew the truth. You knew there was a heaven and a hell! I know I was nasty, but why didn’t you open your mouth and tell me anyway? You knew I was going to go here and you knew my children would end up here. Why didn’t you speak to me?”
Sadly, the only reason any child of God would have is: “I longed for your favor more than the favor of God. I wanted you to like me. I didn’t want you to laugh at me; I wanted your praise.” What a trap it is when we love the praise of men more than the praise of God!
According to Paul, the only way to escape this snare of the fear of man is by calling out to God, knowing that He has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (see 2 Timothy 1:7). God alone can give us the ability to escape being governed by the praise or the criticism of people. Furthermore, the Scriptures tell us that “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). The love of God will not only drive out fear, but it will compel us to go back to those who are living without God in order to do them good, irrespective of their response toward us.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.