Part One: Fear of God vs. Fear of Man
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe”
We all struggle with it. We know we are called to minister or we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing! Finding that correct balance, however, is much harder than I ever thought it would be. There are so many areas of life where I struggle with it, beginning with this one.
I know that I am not supposed to be overly concerned with what others are thinking and/or saying about me. It is God’s Word and glory I should be concerned about. Yet I also know that my testimony matters. As an mk, and now a full-time missionary I have witnessed many times the effects of a poor testimony. Perhaps that is why I still struggle with whether others see me as “productive”, “busy in ministry”, or “doing enough”. It is all too easy to compare myself with other women and see just how much they are “doing” for God. When I do that, I immediately feel that I am falling short somehow. I worry what my colleagues think, what my supporters think, what my national partners think. And when I let that worry take control, I find I am no longer doing ministry for the sake of God’s glory, but out of the fear of man.
How then do I balance having a good testimony and working hard with ministering out of fear of God and not man? The only way I have found to do it is to lay each opportunity at the Lord’s feet and examine my motives for everything I do. Do I say “no” to a certain ministry because it is not visible enough, or is it because I believe God would have me invest my time elsewhere? Do I say “yes” to a specific ministry because I am concerned that people see me being busy, or is it because I know God would have me use my gifts in that area at that specific time? And what about my priorities?
I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I do have the Word of God. As I struggle on looking for this “elusive balance”, I pray that God would guide me through His Word and the counsel of others to bring glory to Him alone.