Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Books #17: When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch

Wow, what a book! The subtitle of When People Are Big and God is Small tells exactly what this book is all about. It is a book on overcoming peer pressure, codependency, and the fear of man. Let me emphasize that last phrase: the fear of man! Welch says, "We replace God with people. Instead of a biblically guided fear of the Lord, we fear others. Of course, the 'fear of man' goes by other names. When we are in our teens, it is called 'peer pressure.' When we are older, it is called 'people-pleasing.' Recently, it has been called 'codependency.' With these labels in mind, we can spot the fear of man everywhere" (14).

I care what other people think, don't you? And to some level, that is okay. But if care what they think more than what God thinks, we have somehow reversed that which should be first in our life. This book so hits home in so many ways. I have used it as a resource in small group Bible studies. I have referenced it many times in sermons. I have looked back at it and been convicted time and time again.

His solution to the fear of man is of course a healthy dose of the fear of the Lord. We should care what He thinks more than what our friends think. As Welch says, "God is much bigger to you than people are" (19). In this book, he deals with much more than simply evangelism, although there are certainly overtones of our fear of people when it comes to evangelism. The principles that he speaks about in this book will help you in your relationships with your friends, your in-laws, your parents, your spouse, your kids, and every other human relationship.

I love this book. I wish I lived this book more than I do. It is certainly one that I look forward to going back to time and time again. If you have never read it, take the time. Let me end with my favorite quote in the book. Enjoy!

"It all sounds too familiar. Sometimes we would prefer to die for Jesus than to live for him. If someone had the power to kill us for our profession of faith, I imagine that most Christians would say, 'Yes, I am a believer in Jesus Christ,' even if it meant death. The threat of torture might make people think twice, but I think most Christians would acknowledge Christ. However, if making a decision for Jesus means that we might spend years being unpopular, ignored, poor, or criticized, then there are masses of Christians who temporarily put their faith on the shelf . . . In other words, kill me, but don't keep me from being liked, appreciated, or respected" (39).

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