How would you finish the following sentence? I'm afraid of...
For a long time and still every once and a while I am afraid of what others think of me. Am I good enough? Did I do a good enough job? Do they like me? Do they really like me? What do they think of me? What is their opinion of me? I would like for you to meet my idol, Mr. Approval. When he shows up, I have to quickly make the choice of whether or not I will serve him or the one true God.
Growing up, I focused on my parents. I wanted to make my mom and dad proud. I got good grades. I excelled in music. I even won national competitions to strive to make my family proud of me. When I began preaching, I made it more about what I said and what people thought of what I said, instead of making it about what God wanted to say. There is nothing wrong in wanting to please your family. On the contrary, you should do what they expect of you. I had Christian parents, so living up to their expectations meant living a good Christian life. The problem was that I made my life about pleasing them, not serving God.
Now, every time I preach or put an event together, I have to put Mr. Approval in his place. I strive each day to make sure that all that I do is for God. Am I perfect? No. Every time someone compliments me on what I have done, I immediately direct it to God. Do I want people to feel bad for commending me? No. The commendation helps me to see that God is using me for His work.
I have preached for God, and I have preached for Thomas. And I can be truly honest in saying that preaching for God feels awesome. When I preach for God, I know that He is pleased with me. I don't have to worry if I did a good enough job. I don't have to worry about what others thought of what I did. If God is pleased, then nothing else matters. When I preach for me, I am constantly worrying about everything I say. I wonder if I'm going to offend somebody and have to defend myself. I wonder if I'm boring. Basically, I spend the whole time worrying about every little thing that I do. So I would rather live for God and worry about nothing, than live for me and worry about everything.
So what are you afraid of? What is the one thing that you couldn't stand to lose? If it's not God, then it's an idol. This post isn't meant to discourage you. It is meant to make you aware that idols aren't just wooden tokens in a far away jungle. They are here among us and we all struggle with them. Nobody is exempt from idols. Comment below if you'd like to share your idol. Together we can pray for one another and help one another stay focussed on the one true God.