Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Being Well Thought Of For The Sake Of Christ

"Life is too short to spend time and energy worrying
about what others think of us. Or should we care
about what others think precisely because that
really matters in this short life?" - John Piper

I've often wondered how exactly to balance not caring what others think while maintaining a good reputation for the sake of the gospel. But through reading scripture, I've come to see that not caring what the world thinks doesn't have to be a cold and indifferent attitude. If we are truly striving to honor God with our lives, than we will behave in a manner that is kind toward others while still living for an audience of One. Our desire for a good reputation will not be for our own sakes, but for that of Christ's. In the stories of Daniel he made it clear whom he served and that he did not care what others thought. The way he lived his life in God brought him favor with kings, and as a result, some of the kings men became jealous and sought to discredit Daniel. "...but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him."-Daniel 6:4. How then is the tension between not caring what others think and being "well thought of by outsiders. 1 Tim 3:7" to be navigated? John Piper says the answer to this is "By realizing that our aim in life is that Christ is magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. In other words, we do care, really care, about what others think...of Christ. Their salvation hangs on what they think of Christ. And our lives are to display His truth and beauty. So we must care what others think of us as representatives of Christ. Love demands it."

I'm sure I will still struggle with wanting others approval for purely selfish reasons, but I am sobered when I consider who's reputation I have been entrusted with. May this prayer from Life Is A Vapor be my prayer O Lord!

"Father, at times the way of Christ is complex to our sin-stained and finite minds. Forgive us for the times we have justified our vanity in the name of a good reputation. O Lord, grant us, in this brief life, the wisdom and courage to please others, or not to please others, for the sake of Christ alone, and not our own praise. In Jesus' name, Amen."


Kevin Glick said...

Thanks for the reminder Lana, that our concern of what others think should be based off a desire that they would think well of Christ not of ourselves. Our rejection by the world as Christians should not be because we are arrogant and cold but because we love them enough to tell them the truth that they often do not want to hear.

kyle said...

"I am sobered when I consider who's reputation I have been entrusted with."

makes me wonder if God was thinking straight :)

thebeloved said...

Reminded me of this verse, 2 Corinthians 3:3 -- You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.