April 26, 2023
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted, but the one who examines me is the Lord. (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)
What others think of us drives 90% of our lives. We wear what we wear primarily to impress others. We speak certain things in certain ways to be acceptable to those around us. Our deep longing to be loved drives us to desperately seek others' approval, unaware that it can never satisfy. A man-pleasing life is a wasted existence.
The herd mentality is obvious and destructive. Like lemmings to the sea, students race after each other to their destruction in a relentless pursuit of popularity and acceptance. And grown-up kids (us), if we are not careful, continue this practice till our death.
One of the godliest men who ever lived, the Apostle Paul, had been liberated from this constant need for man’s applause. He didn’t worry about what others thought. “It’s a very small thing,” he said, “to be examined by you.”
But there was also another opinion that he disregarded: his own! He knew that we can fool ourselves, thinking this or that. We are swayed by our own deceptive hearts, rising in unwarranted pride or wallowing in self-disgust.
Only one opinion matters: God’s. “The one who examines me is the Lord.” Paul knew that only the One-Who-Sees-All could evaluate the true motives of our hearts. He alone appraises us accurately. We must listen to Him.
God has given us two ways to find out how we’re doing: His Word and prayer. We can come into His presence. His Spirit lives within us to reveal all things, and His Word is the constant objective source of all truth, the only accurate measurement of reality. Standing before the Lord in prayer and letting our whole attention be focused upon Him centers us. Our human opinions fade in light of His glory.
If you need to know how you’re doing, read the Word, pray without ceasing, and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the illumination of His Word. God has everything at stake to keep you in the right lane. He will lead you there if you worry about no ones opinion except His.
And keep a humble view. Boasting is destroyed when we realize that everything we have is something we’ve received (Verse 7).
And at the end of our lives, God will bring everything to light. In this regard, Paul knew his role and his calling. He was a bondservant of God and a steward of God’s mysteries. His one desire was that He be found faithful before the One from whom all things come.
Don’t live for others' approval or even for your own. Turn your attention to God and live solely for Him. He will lead you in all the right paths for His name’s sake and give you the joy of His approval and soul-fulfilling love … and nothing else really matters.
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