by J. A. Littler

A constant struggle for any Christ follower is to fight off the temptation to be liked, to worship human favor as an idol of the heart. Being liked by others can feel warm and fuzzy for a few moments, but that warm feeling quickly turns into slavery as one is controlled by another’s every whim and fancy.

Scripture makes the matter plain: “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Prov. 29:25). When it comes to this battle of the heart and the war waged between human favor and God-revealed truth, the only sure place of refuge is faith in God’s Word.

For a local church to escape the snare of man and trust in the Lord requires both dedication and sacrifice. The decision might be easy and plain, but the cost involved can be emotionally painful and result in losing favor with more than a few people in the community. Is there hope for the church that desires to make decisions based on the truth of Scripture as well as actively show the love and compassion of Christ to the world?

Yes, there is hope, and that hope is found in trusting that God will work through whatever consequences result from disobeying man’s will in order to obey God’s will (Acts 5:28–29).

Yes, we can and should reach out to the lost with aching and prayerful hearts, urging the lost to believe the beautiful truths God has revealed (Phil. 3:18; cf. Ps. 119:9).

J. A. Littler (MDiv, Liberty University) is an adjunct professor of Bible and theology at Clarks Summit University. He has also written a variety of articles and teaching resources for Sunday School and other ministries of the local church.