I can’t go in there dressed like this—what will people think?
I can’t stand up in front of all those people and speak—what if I make a fool of myself?
When was the last time the “spotlight” got uncomfortably close to you and you just couldn’t go through with what you were supposed to do because you felt self-conscious, inadequate or just simply afraid?
Maybe you held back because of the color of your skin. Maybe you held back because of your lack of education or lack of confidence.
Whatever the reason, know this: What the world refers to as self-consciousness, the Bible calls fear.
That’s right, being embarrassed—or being self-conscious—is just a form of selfishness that is fear-based.
Now what should we do with any kind of fear?
God’s Heart-Sighted Vision
Romans 9:33 assures us that “whosoever believeth on [Jesus] shall not be ashamed.” Jesus already bore all our shame and reproach. Therefore we have nothing to be embarrassed about.
Besides, 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
Think about it. Have you ever had the sense that God was looking at you in displeasure because you were not dressed right?
Did you ever get the feeling that God had given up on you because you were born into the wrong family, or on the wrong side of town?
God never treats us as though we are third-class citizens.
No, God always looks on the heart of man. He always looks at the heart of the matter. Your clothes, your abilities, your past—your anything—do not affect God’s love for you. Your appearance or performance has no bearing on His love.
Consequently those “outward appearances” that are limited to this natural realm should have no bearing on you. Here’s what I mean.
A few years ago one of our teenage granddaughters had to attend a formal occasion at her school. And, oh, was she ever dressed up. She had her formal gown, her high-heel shoes and everything. She was beautiful.
Well, earlier that day before she went to this function, she and her mother, our daughter Kellie, stopped off at a store to take care of an errand.
When they drove into the parking lot, Kellie said, “Now, sweetheart, if this bothers you to go in the store all dressed up like this in the middle of the afternoon, you can just wait for me in the car while I run in.”
“Why, Mama,” she said, “what difference does it make to me if I’m the best-dressed person in the store?”
And out of that car she came without giving it another thought. And why not? She wasn’t embarrassed.
Here was a teenage, high-school girl—who was about to “stand out” in the crowd in a very obvious way—yet she wasn’t a bit self-conscious or upset about the situation.
She had no fear in her. She had been raised to recognize all fear and immediately resist it, giving it no place.
The Resist-Desist Maneuver
Perhaps the most important truth to remember about fear is that Satan is fear himself.
What’s more, Satan does everything he can to keep fear involved in our lives because that’s the only entrance he has into us. Fear is the only way he has of getting a foothold in our lives. It is the connector to darkness.
But what does James 4:7 promise us where the devil is concerned?
If we resist him, he will flee from us.
The reason fear—the devil—is quick to bow down and back out when the Name of Jesus and the blood of the Lamb are thrown in his face is found in Hebrews 2:14-15: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
In other words, Jesus took on human flesh that He might destroy Satan—who previously had the power of death—and thereby deliver us from the fear of death which is actually the root of all fear.
Second Timothy 1:10 tells us that Jesus once and for all abolished death. So, with death out of the way, we have absolutely no need to be afraid. By Jesus going to the cross and plundering all of hell, we can now live totally free from every fear…the fear of flying, the fear of heights, the fear of going hungry, the fear of public speaking, the fear of “what people might think.” All of it!
But, again, that’s only part of the work. It’s up to us to enforce our deliverance by resisting the devil—fear—in every situation. It’s up to us to flush out all fear from our lives by truly receiving the fact that God loves us, which is explained in 1 John 4:16-18:
We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
The key to flushing out all fear is not just “knowing” that God loves you, but also “believing” that He loves you.
You see, the more you meditate on the Word of God concerning love, the more the truth of that love fills you. And the more love fills you, fear has no place to go but out. We don’t “deal with fear” or “cope with it.” We eradicate it.
Resist fear—resist the devil—then begin developing the love of God in every area of your life.
Remember, hurt feelings, self-consciousness and embarrassment are all just forms of fear. And, really, it’s nothing more than others finding out that you are not perfect.
But we already knew that, right?
Keep in mind that what really matters is that burning, white-hot love God has for you, the love that causes Him to do everything He does…just for you.
The next time you start feeling a little self-conscious or embarrassed, remember the love. Get your mind off yourself and over on God’s thoughts, His thoughts of love for you.
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