To listen to Nancy’s answer recorded from Moody Radio, click below.
I don’t know anyone who enjoys being disliked and excluded. We were born to be loved. When we were young, we learned to love applause: our first step, first bike ride and our first bite of something green. If we grow up seeking the approval of others for validation of our self-worth, we will become not only disappointed but lost. How can we love God well and feast on the approval of man at the same time? The mark of a humanist is to be popular, wealthy, and accomplished in something that others will admire. The mark of a Christian, however, is to seek God and to love others well. When we fall into the humanist mindset, we will no longer desire to focus on loving others but rather to love ourselves, which leads to pride. Pride not only leads to sin, but it also numbs us to it. Living without the covering of grace can and will ultimately lead to disaster.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Tim Keller writes in his book, The Song of Jesus, “When you, a being created to live for God, live instead for yourself, you violate your design.”
Many pastors and false teachers often fall into this trap when they seek to be popular and growing a church or ministry for ‘big’ sake. That desire to be well-liked and ‘worshiped’ can lead them into teaching heresies and making people under them feel falsely good rather than teaching and upholding the full counsel of God.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” (John 12:42-43)
Life does not work without the guidance, the love and wisdom that comes from God. We were created in the image of God to have a relationship with Him. There is no substitute for God, including ourselves or the world. We cannot please God and the world at the same time. God calls all of us to choose this day whom we will serve.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
As Christians, our lives must reflect Christ in all we do. The consistency of the way we live our lives day in and day out is a great evangelical tool to those who are seeking. We should expect rejection from those who do not yet know Jesus.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11,12)