Why do you fear your husband’s disapproval so much? Why are you anxious that you can’t please your wife, no matter what you say or do?
The other morning as I read in Proverbs I began focusing on this one line:
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
God got my attention because often we get caught in this sticky web of fearing a spouse’s disapproval — of our words, choices, or work.
And fear, because it feels so crushing, is a powerful deceiver and often motivates us in the wrong direction. Anytime we fall prey to fearing disapproval — whether it be from a spouse, parent, child, friend, or pastor — we willingly wear the chains that prevent us from speaking up, making decisions or acting as we should.
The Hebrew for the word snare equates to trap, the way a hunter will bait an animal. And that is what the enemy is constantly doing to us. Baiting us. Setting traps. Wanting to get us to fall and stay down. Bound. Snared in idolatry.
For it is idolatry to desire another’s approval, deeming it more important than God’s, because deep down in our trembling heart we fear losing their love, respect, or the relationship. But when we live in this fear do we really have those things anyway?
We so easily give away our personal power to a false little god as we allow others’ approval to define us, their opinion the sole measure of our worth. And often we find ourselves keeping the peace for fear of their wrath, often doing what we are told without thinking deeply over the implications or consequences of such actions. Following their precise directions and performing perfectly as they deem best.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
When we fear a husband or wife’s disapproval and live and act accordingly, we tell God that He is second in our lives. That what He says and thinks about us doesn’t matter as much as our mate.
Deep in our hearts we all crave approval. We desire to be of value and worth. To belong to someone who cares about us and thinks highly of us. And hopefully our spouse feels that way. But even if he or she doesn’t, these things are already ours. Given to us at birth by an exceedingly gracious and loving Perfect Parent.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
So let’s cast out fear in our hearts and our marriages, study God’s word of truth, and put on the freedom we have in Jesus.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
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