This morning in my quiet time, I began thinking about the weight I have often given to the opinions of others. Certainly, we should care that we are correctly understood and that we accurately reflect our values in all aspects of our lives; but, I am speaking of the POWER I have ceded to others because I hoped they would “approve of” or “like” me. Like most things, taken to the extreme, this can become an unhealthy concern.
I was drawn to this text which speaks of the danger of living for the approval of others. Jesus is speaking to a crowd of thousands and one of the things that these people were consciously aware of (and driven by) was the approval of the Pharisees. Notice His statement:
His audience desired for the religious leaders of the day to approve of them, so they ordered the steps of their lives in such a way as to accomplish that approval. Some failed in their pursuit and were overwhelmed with shame and felt guilt that stifled their pursuit of righteousness. They GAVE UP! Others kept the rules and then became pretty good at keeping the rules…and they KNEW IT!
Still others aspired to one day be as the rule-makers…when they could be looked to for their opinion.
Here is the point of Jesus’ admonition:
If you are going to climb a ladder, make sure it is leaning against the right wall.
- So what if others approve? Will you stand before them and give an account for your life?
- Did others give you life?
- Can the opinion of others bring you closer to a righteous goal for your life?
I listen to politicians trying to curry favor with the media, Congress, and the darling retweeters on the planet. So what? Do you really think that any of those people would stand by your hospital bed one day?
I watch “tweens and teens” live for likes, loves, and Instagram accolades on social media…yet I have never seen one thing about twitter followers written on an epitaph.
Honestly, we never grow so old that this has no bearing. Grown men strive to get a better job and a nicer truck so others will respect them. Ever had a friend offer to wash your nice truck that he admires and you sought to impress him with? I did not think so…
Women are no better…seeking purses with certain initials and clothes with particular labels. And for what?
Truthfully- If the person you are trying to impress cannot help you become what God has called you to be, why do you let them live in your head rent free?
I am not saying I have this all figured out. If that disappoints you…well, I am sorry. Maybe one day who I am will match up to your expectations of me…or better, perhaps one day your expectations will match who I am.
What to do with this?
Will I be remembered for fulfilling the purpose of God in my life or for having a lot of friends?
- If that person/groups approval did not happen, what difference would it make in one year or five years?
- What if you were always the popular person but God judged you unfaithful with His purpose for your life? Could you live with that for eternity?
Life is a choice.
Love to hear your thoughts.