I mentioned yesterday how easy it is to escape the ridicule that accompanies identity with Jesus in our world. We just need to be silent. Matthew’s story continues in Chapter 10 along the lines of being willing to suffer persecution for Jesus’ sake. In verses 28-33, Jesus tells us, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. “

We all want to be accepted by others. But often we let that longing cause us to hide our faith and the gospel. We begin to question God’s care and control over life. Fear of what others think can truly be a hindrance to living a life that’s pleasing to God. There is true freedom in fearing God and living to please Him above all else. It sets us free from the slavery of pleasing others and allows us to truly focus on our living our lives under God’s protective care and guidance. Otherwise, we face the terrible prospect of attempting to live up to everyone else’s expectations.

There is true freedom in living to an audience of the one and only God. He is never far away! He’s always watching over us. I love the old song with the verse that says, “Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, when songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him; from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

“Take heart, my son, your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2