I never thought of myself much as a people pleaser. I think as a homeschooler you can't worry too much what people think, but some people matter immensely to me. Their moment by moment estimation of me and my worth in their lives has too strong a grip on my emotional state. My parents used to fall into this category, and now I think my husband does. Not because of anything good or bad that they do or did, but because I hold their opinion of me in high regard and spend a lot of energy trying to interpret their present perspective of me as a person. I realized as I read and reread this passage of I Corinthians 4 that I often place their favor, or my interpretation of their favor, above God's.
This presents a real struggle. As a child you want your parents to wax eloquent about your strengths and successes, and as a wife you want your husband to brag to his buddies about your value to him and to look at you with admiring eyes every day. However, those outcomes should not drive our actions or our residual emotions. We should seek to honor and obey God and what would draw His praise in eternity.
Our pastor challenged us to minimize our focus on what others think of us (verse three says it should be a very small thing what others think of us!) and maximize our focus on what God thinks of us. That's where I would rather have my judgment rest anyway. With God, who knows my heart, my motives (sometimes a scary thought), the circumstances, my perspective, my shortcomings, and loves me with an eternal love that would agonize on a cross for even me.
Chapter three put this into the greater perspective of the judgment seat of Christ. There my works will receive their just reward. The temporal accomplishments of this world will not survive that test. If I act remembering that my body is His temple far more of my actions will deserve His recognition on that day.
Each day I need to lay down my life, die to myself, my expectations, my desires, my rights, my goals, my agendas. Step back to watch God do an even greater work than I had originally envisioned. My driving force should not be a contented look on the face of my husband, although I will still enjoy that, my driving force should be God and His glory, His praise. I think my fault hasn't been so much seeking after the praise of others as it has been living up to my own expectations and parameters for judging the success of a day as based on how I interpret other's reactions. They still love me, still remain devoted to me, but my experience ebbs and flows based on how I think others think of me. It all comes back to me, my selfishness, and unconditional surrender.
Can I give Him every inch of my life? Surrender every ounce of energy that I have? Live solely for His praise and eternal perspective? Whether as a mom, a friend, a wife, a daughter, a neighbor, a co-worker, a client, a teacher, whatever my role, I should seek the praise of God alone.
Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall each man have his praise from God.
~I Corinthians 4:5~
~I Corinthians 4:5~