Did you know that although adult elephants weigh between three and eight tons, they can be contained by being chained to a stake in the ground? It starts when the elephant is just a baby. Someone will put a chain around the elephant’s leg and attach it to a stake. A small elephant doesn’t have the strength to pull the stake out of the ground, but then, even as the elephant gets bigger and suddenly has enough strength to pull the stake out easily, it won’t because it remembers all the times it tried as a baby and could not budge the stake. It can’t remember a time it was free, so it no longer even tries to be. The elephant is trapped in his own mind.
So many of us are living that same way. Even those who have accepted Christ as their savior, those who know they have been freed from the bondage of sin, still find themselves chained to the opinions of others. In Galatians, the Apostle Paul says something interesting. At first glance, you might wonder what is the big deal, but as you look a little closer, you see it. In Galatians 1:10, Paul writes, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant” (NLT). Notice he starts the verse with the word “obviously.” Paul is saying that anyone who knows him well knows he is trying not to win the approval of people but of God. He goes on to say that if pleasing people were his goal, he would not be Christ’s servant. In other words, you cannot have it both ways. It must be one or the other. If I go through life trying to win the approval of other people, I’m giving them the power to call the shots in my life. Other people become my master.
Proverbs 29:25 tells us the fear of human opinion disables. So many of us would admit to living that way every day. But the verse goes on to say that trusting in God is the antidote. Trusting God turns it around. It delivers us and sets us free. Have you been set free from the opinion of others?