Coloratura Christian

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

"Because People Judge You By Your Friends"

Christmas shopping has begun, and I'm amazed how heavily marketers rely on the fact that people care what others think of them. I saw one billboard for an upscale clothing store with a slogan that said something to the effect of "Because people judge you by your friends," and it had a picture of a beautiful socialite dressed 'to the nines' surrounded by other beautiful socialites. The industry's marketing scheme is focused on selling an image, in other words, how others see you. It seems that if people are convinced that buying a certain product will elevate them in other's eyes, it's a guaranteed sell.

While it is true that our dress and the things we own should be a testimony to what we believe, how much should a person be concerned with how others view them? It seems there is something in our human nature that craves acceptance, approval and security from other people whether it be our parents, our spouse, our friends, our peer group, our co-workers or even complete strangers.

The problem is that when other's opinions of us become a deciding factor in how we live and what we do, it is giving them more power and more credit than they should have. We often act as if other people have the ability to give or take away ultimate happiness, and we make a god out of mere humans. When our mind is consumed with what others think of us, God seems very small, and we somehow end up fearing man more than we fear God.

We may not be a fearful or timid person by nature, in fact, we may be very outgoing and confident, but "fear of man" does not have so much to do with personality type as it does with how much we let other people control us. Are we elated when someone we respect speaks highly of us? Do we feel better about ourselves when we receive respect and admiration? Are we hurt, angry or defensive when someone disagrees with us or thinks badly of us? Do our degrees and credentials make us feel more secure? Have we ever felt embarrassed to evangelize, even to a complete stranger? Isn't it true that this is nothing other than "fear of man?"

Fearing man can be so subtle in our lives, and yet the sin of idolatry is no small matter. God alone should be consuming our thoughts.


  • At December 01, 2005, Anonymous elisha said…

    Hi Christel.
    Remember how yesterday at the studio I so readily shared with you about how these people I know are totally obsessed with image and how it completely defines who they are and how they want to appear... (for anyone reading this, I was telling Christel about some of my teenage students who strive to be, and consider themselves to have succesfully achieved, the 'Jewish American Princess' look. And yes, this is a saught after and trendy look.)
    Well Christel, today I was humbled. Pious observation of others changed to sad observation of my own sinful heart. Following a fairly long and in all truth somewhat painful time of really caring about what someone was thinking about me, and so badly wanting this person to acknowledge the 'good' that I've been, I was reminded of what I read in your blog yesterday... convicted by what I read. But blessed too, for through such conviction can come such freedom in Christ. Thank you for your reminder of who we are living for.

  • At December 06, 2005, Blogger Christel said…

    Thanks for your honesty. That's so crazy about the JAP look. (I still think that label sounds sort of offensive.) Those girls are blessed to have your influence in their lives. The beauty of your life stands in stark contrast to the majority of people they probably hang around with.

  • At December 11, 2005, Blogger Marlene S. said…

    What a good reminder that our desire should be for God...above all! John 12:43...."for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." Let that not be said of us.
    Looking forward to seeing you soon.


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