"The Lord says, I am the one who strengthens you. Why should you fear mortals, who are no more enduring than grass?" (Isaiah 51:12 TEV)
One way to overcome the fear of rejection is by keeping the right perspective. You can listen to the opinions of others, but never overvalue what they say.
In our verse today, Isaiah says our life here on Earth is temporary, so why be afraid of other people's opinions? Other people are not God, and their opinions aren't going to last, anyway. The secret to success is to outlast your critics.
Isaiah says if mortal man puts you down, don't worry about it. God's the one who counts. Don't assume that their judgments are infallible or straight from God. You don't have to automatically accept someone's criticism; you ought to judge it for what it's worth.
Why am I saying this? Because when people's approval becomes all-important to you, you're setting yourself up to fear rejection.
The Bible says, “In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 TEV) If you recognize how much God is for you, it gives you the ability to withstand tremendous rejection.
For some people, all that matters is popularity, fame, or applause. "What do other people think of me? How do I look to everybody else? Image is everything!"
If you live that way, you are at the mercy of everybody else's judgments. If they think I’m a loser, I must be a loser! If they think I'm a dork, I must be a dork! I don't want to live that way — do you?
God never intended for you to live that way. He says, "What are you listening to them for? They're just mortal men. I'm the one that counts. They are no more enduring than grass."
Paul says his goal in life is to please God, not men. “Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God's approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 TEV).
He says I have a choice. I can choose whether I'm going to live for the applause of God or the applause of men. Who are you more interested in pleasing? The crowd or God? Paul says you can't seek the approval of both at the same time. You have to decide who you want to impress. Just remember whose applause is "no more enduring than grass."
Talk About It
What is the difference in being affected and being directed by others' opinions?
What would being directed by the opinions of others look like? Why do you think that could cause problems in your life?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.