Monday, October 17, 2011

An Audience of One
So many people to please today: spouse, children, parents, boss, customers, stockholders, friends, self. 

Affirmation and approval. We seek it every day in some form or another, and it is astonishing to consider that we seek it from such fickle, emotional, and unstable
things as human beings. Consider this: as humans, we are tossed and turned to one degree or another by any combination of the following:
  • headaches
  • the economy
  • traffic
  • weather
  • whatever might be blooming
  • the fight we had with our spouse/child
  • our horoscope
  • our level of stress
  • the car breaking down/running out of gas
  • financial issues
  • weariness
  • shattered dreams
  • fear
  • confusion
  • jealousy
How many other things can you add? All of these things can affect how "pleased" another person is with us at any given moment. When you think about it like that, it's a wonder we ever please anyone! 

Matthew 6:24 says: "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money"

While this speaks specifically about money, I think it can be applied to other "masters" as well. Consider it in light of Galatians 1:10:  "Am I now trying to win the approval of me, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Is it wrong to enjoy the approval of others? No, I don't think so. We are told to encourage and lift one another up, and approval is a part of that. 

We get into trouble, though, any time we work for and desire the approval of others over God's pleasure with us. When that happens, we have slipped into idolatry and might as well make an image of ourselves to place on the mantel so that everyone may exclaim over our magnificence. 

I know that sounds ridiculous, and we would never do that, right? Well never so blatantly, anyway. But God looks at our hearts, and he knows what we seek. 

Has the approval of someone else become more important to you than pleasing God? What if you had an audience of One? How would you act? How would you behave and think? How would you gauge your success at the end of the day? A hundred years from now, what will people say of the legacy you have left behind?

Each day we do have an Audience of One. That is where we should begin, and at the end of the day our only goal should be to hear him say, "Well done." That is what will matter for all eternity. 

For you: Whose approval do you seek? Does God's approval have its rightful place in your life? If not, ask him today to help you change your priorities and your focus. 

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