Obedience or Approval
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10)
Recently I felt led to write someone an e-mail. I prayed and sought the counsel of my husband before sending the e-mail. I just knew it was what I was supposed to do. I wrote it, hesitated, prayed some more, then hit the SEND key. Done. I waited for a response.
Minutes ticked into hours and before long the whole day had passed, no response. I began to doubt. What if I had missed it, what if the Lord didn’t really tell me to do it. What-if, what-if. I went to bed that night and tossed and turned as I slipped in and out of sleep, dreaming and thinking of the ramifications of that one small e-mail.
When I awoke the next morning I quickly grabbed my devotions and began to read, hoping for some kind of confirmation. Nothing. It was all good stuff, but not what I was looking for. I got showered, dressed and made my morning shake. As I began to stir the mix in my cup I heard the Lord speak these word, “Obedience is not and cannot be contingent on another person’s reaction. You strive for an audience of one.”
I had wasted a day and a good night’s sleep worrying about what another person might think of me instead of resting in knowing that I had been obedient to what the Lord had said to do. How foolish. I walked to the table and sat down feeling peace in my heart. Nothing about the circumstance had changed, no return e-mail, phone call or text, the only thing different was that I wasn’t trying to please anyone but God. I rested in knowing I had been obedient.
The pages of Scripture are filled with stories of people who did what didn’t make sense. Think of poor Noah. Those people hadn’t even heard of rain. But day after day he hammered nails, gathered animals and did what God told him to do. In the face of humiliation and mocking, Noah worked. Obedience saved Noah and his family.
What about the mother of our Savior? If anyone had reason to worry about what people’s reaction would be it was Mary! The penalty was death. Yet, she said “Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.” (Luke 1:38) Mary’s obedience set the stage for our salvation because our Savior was born of a willing virgin.
I don’t know what God is asking you to do or what he has been speaking to you about, but let me encourage you to work for an audience of one. Obedience to the Lord has to supersede the insecurity of the unknown. For some the unknown is what someone will think. For some the unknown is financial insecurity. Others might face medical unknowns. I don’t know what it is for you, but I do know that obedience to an audience of One brings peace that passes all understanding and just might make those sleepless nights a little more restful.
Father, may we walk in confidence knowing that obeying you is always the right answer. Help us to rest in you and to find our security in you alone and not in other people, finances, health or possessions. May we rest completely in you. Amen