“You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols.” 1 Corinthians 12:2 NLT
Have you ever been worried about what people think of you? Done something simply because you wanted somebody else to think well of you? How about doing something you know you shouldn’t have just to please another person?
Desiring others to think well of us is not a bad thing, but when we look to them to gauge our value, we’ve crossed the line.
Peter stopped eating with the gentiles when James and certain influential Jews were around. Afraid of what they would think, he acted like a racist. Paul sternly rebuked him. (See Galatians 2:11-14)
Personally, I can relate with Peter. I’ve struggled with being concerned about what people think about me. Rather than loving selflessly, as Jesus commanded, I sometimes look for something in return from others. It’s like I “need” their approval. This stems from a misplaced understanding of where my value comes from. I’m loved by the Creator of the universe with a love which surpasses knowledge. God’s love gives me my complete value.
But sometimes I lose sight of God’s love for me. Caught up in the swirl of life, I look to other relationships to give me what only He can. This is sin. Using other’s to validate me is giving too much worth to their opinion. In essence I’m worshiping their opinion as an idol, making me an idolater.
The word Idol literally means “an image for worship.” A stark reality is that when I do anything to enhance another person’s opinion of me, I’m bowing down in worship to that person in my heart.
In quite spicy language, Paul puts our trying to please others this way: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians: 1:10 ESV
Paul’s words add gravity to this sin of idolatry. But, praise be to God, Jesus Christ died to set us free from all sin. God wants us free. There’s tremendous power in the cross of Christ to bring death to every sin.
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13 ESV
Though I’ve known about my struggles with pleasing others for a long time, dealing with it as sin and bringing it to the cross of Christ for mortification has brought tremendous freedom and lightness to my heart. I’m becoming more and more secure in Father God’s love for me. This frees me to love other’s as Christ has loved me, without expecting or needing anything back in return.
Prayer: Lord, thank you so much for revealing this sin to me. When my flesh wants to walk in the old ways of gaining value from the opinion of others, please show me quickly that I might bring this idolatry to the cross and walk in your Spirit. “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
I know you want to show me more and more so that I can walk in the full freedom You’ve designed for me. You are impressing upon me that my completeness is in Christ Jesus alone. I love the lightness of heart that the confession of sin brings. Please continue Your work in me. I love You and thank You for loving me so much.