Other people control us far more than we think. Where there is constant pressure either to fit in with the crowd or to stand out from the crowd, we are controlled by the crowd and this is the heart of peer pressure. How does the gospel bring hope?
Ed Welch has developed the insights of his earlier book, When People are Big and God is Small, and shows us how our answers to three key questions will reveal the idol in our hearts — that which in fact controls our behaviour. When, as Christians, we ask, ‘Who am I?’ ‘Who is God?’ and ‘Who are you?’, we know what the ‘right’ answers should be.
In practice we replace trust in the goodness of God with something else, and this is what really guides our behaviour: it may be the desire to be liked or the need to be in control. ‘What would you say you love the most? Follow the track of your emotions — your happiness, sadness, hopelessness, despair, and anger — then you will find what you love’ (p.44).
The great news is that God knows this and still loves us. It is this gospel which can give us the strength to displace the idols and rightly worship the Lord. When we do this we find that ‘version 2.0’ of ourselves is secure enough in God’s love to give love to others. When we learn to walk humbly before the Lord we find that the skill transfers to our relationships with other people (p.135).
This is an excellent book, and deserves to be widely read by all ages, including the 18-25s for whom it is intended.
senior minister, St. George’s Church Wembdon, Bridgwater, Somerset; no longer young; still Reformed; apparently contented
This article was first published in the July 2012 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information.
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