Who to Answer To

Life pulls and tugs at us.  It yanks us in all directions.  Culture and advertising tell us who we should be.  The world tells us how to dress, how to live, who to follow on Twitter.  We told over and over who to listen to, what books to read, what movies to see.  Through school we’re taught to impress others through our merits and our own ways.  We’re taught to be the best, do the best, and get to the top as quickly as possible.  This is what I call the American Nightmare instead of the American Dream.

We are so accustomed to impressing people with things, money, clothing, whatever—that we actually because consumed with it.  We being living our lives for others.  We constantly want to please everyone.  We become “yes” men and women, doing whatever we have to, to impress and accelerate our future.

In my life I have to admit that for a while I had become a slave to this.  I wanted to please everyone.  I wanted to make everybody happy.  I wanted to be liked by all people.  I loaded myself down with things, said “no” to no one, and as a result I became burnt-out.  This really hit me when I realized that living this way is a self-imposed slavery to someone or something else.  It begins to consume your life.  You begin to live by other expectations of you, others opinions on how you should do things or live.  Well, church, it’s time to say, “No more!”

In the Book of Galatians, Paul starts out asking, “Why are you following another gospel? If somebody says there is another one they’re lying!  Again, don’t listen to another gospel; it will only end badly!” (1:1-9, my paraphrase). Paul then says something that totally rocked my life and changed the way I think about who to impress.  He writes,

“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” (1:10).

Say what?  Hold up!  Does that say what we think it does?  ABSOLUTELY!

Paul shows us that we’re supposed to impress somebody, to gain approval from somebody.  However, it is far different that what we think.  We are to live for, give to, impress, and get the approval of God only!  Do you understand the magnitude of this?  Can you grasp this concept?  This might be the most liberating thing you can hear right now!  You don’t have to impress or get the approval of anyone or anything except our Father in Heaven!

Wow!  This is a game-changer!  This is freedom in Christ (which Paul speaks about in Galatians 5), this is our declaration of dependence on God!  This is where life was truly meant to be lived! I don’t have to answer to anybody but God!  I don’t have to impress anyone except God (who, by the way knows the real me and isn’t impressed).  I am free from the vicious cycle of people-pleasing, approval seeking, and yes man-ing that the would tries to shackle me to.

My challenge to you is this:  do you have higher expectations of brothers and sisters because you expect them to win your approval or impress you?  Do you feel that somebody has those expectations of you?  Let go!  Stop trying.  Let the Spirit move and breath in your life and help you realize that your true freedom in Christ isn’t based on what others think!  It’s based on your Father, who gave everything to show you His infinite, unfathomable love and mercy.  He showed it on the cross when Jesus died.  He showed it in the Resurrection of Christ! He shows us every single day that we are His and He is ours.  We only need to seek the approval of God—NOONE else, ever!  Just something the think about.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           – Scott

 

One thought on “Who to Answer To

  1. Scott, I think the church actually lends itself to abuses such as “mind control”. When I was saved the first time, I hitched my wagon to a group of believers who ( I thought) were smarter than I was.

    I had been raised Catholic and so I knew next to nothing about God or His word. The people I met at my new church seemed to “have it together”. I listened to those who had been Christians lots longer than I had been and I tried to conform to that lifestyle.

    Unfortunately, the people I’d attached to were NOT “in the Spirit” but they were “in the flesh”. Paul’s warning to the Galatians was to NOT fall into the very trap I fell into.

    “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal.3:3)

    All of us start out “in the Spirit” and the challenge is to not permit others to drag us back into the flesh. When we are first baptized into Christ, God gives us the Holy Spirit. We are excited to be part of the new life in Christ but then we start associating with people who have been around awhile and find out that our joy is only temporary. Pretty soon, we become as jaded as the people around us.

    We start listening to our “betters” who tell us that, despite God’s best, we’re still a bunch of rotten sinners. We learn that we are not saved from our sins per se but that if we try hard enough, we can start sinning less than before. It was at this point, I believe, that I started to die inside. Trying real hard not to sin is an exercise in futility. In fact, Paul wrote about a person who tries real hard not to sin, in Romans 7. The harder you try, the more difficult it becomes not to sin.

    Instead of agreeing with God – that we are “free indeed” from sin – we are roped back into believing that it’s all up to us to try hard enough for God. We are exposed to the mind control of the group and ESPECIALLY of the preacher. I have been exposed to the manipulative tactics of well meaning individuals. Here’s a lesson that should sound familiar to anyone who has heard enough sermons: “Jesus died on the cross for you. What are you doing for Him?”

    That is BLATANT manipulation by people who believe that if we feel guilty enough for our sins that we can overcome them. That is ANTI-spirit. It is ALL in the flesh but such mind-control tactics are COMMON in churches today.

    We cannot be free from sin as long as we believe it’s up to us and our efforts. We have to believe the word of God in order to walk free from sin. We have to separate ourselves from the majority. We cannot continue to call ourselves sinners and ever hope to rise above that limited expectation. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian church, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)

    Freedom from sin is simple and it doesn’t require a lot of effort on our part. It does, however, require us to believe what is written instead of listening to well meaning, manipulative, controlling clerics who seem to “have it together”.

    Like

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