“. . . for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” (John 12:43, ESV)
What would the church look like if all of us were more responsive to God and less concerned about what others think of us? Let’s be honest, we care about what other people think. We want to wear the right clothes, drive the right car, eat the right foods and we work hard to gain the admiration of our family, friends and neighbors.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be liked and admired, until it comes at the cost of going against what we know God wants us to be or do. If I allow others to derail me from God’s leading in my life, then I have a problem.
Can we be honest about our failure in this? Pastors experience burnout because they are trying to please a bunch of unruly, selfish sheep rather than be obedient to the God they signed on to serve. Those sheep often put unrealistic pressure on those pastors because we are more concerned about our own position, status and comfort than we are about completing the mission that God has given us to make disciples.
It seems to me that if we focus on God and become more responsive to him, much of the garbage that happens in churches would be eliminated. Much of the garbage that happens in families, workplaces and the public square would also be eliminated.
If Christians started living as though God’s opinion is the only one that matters, it would have a huge impact on our social structure.
But what would it look like if I was more concerned about what God thinks than about what people think? Here are some benefits that come to mind:
- I wouldn’t be defensive when I am wrong about something.
- I wouldn’t be offensive when I am right about something. I would not feel pressure to prove I’m right.
- I will be more likely to do the right thing even when it is difficult.
- I will be more likely to do the right thing even though no one but God is watching.
- I wouldn’t waste my resources on things with no eternal value.
- I would be more willing to stand up and say what needs to be said even though it may not be popular.
- I would be more likely to speak on behalf of God as opposed to promoting myself.