Winning Favor (originally posted 25 January 2012)

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Whom do you serve?

I am a sinner. There, I said it. It’s out there now for the whole world to know. I’m not perfect nor am I in a better class socially or spiritually than anyone else. We all make mistakes and for me, I’ve made a lot of them. God has seen fit to allow me to be punished for some of my sins and others I have been accountable only to Him. In the end, some of my hardest lessons are the ones that He kept between us. He uses those times to teach me new things that I need to better live my life for Him. Another method that He seems to enjoy with me is by allowing those little dramatic moments in life pop up. Unfortunately He seems to think that I can handle more than one at a time. So when I notice that He’s up to something, I start paying more attention because I can almost guarantee that I want to learn the lesson the FIRST time rather than missing the point and face having to do it all over again at a later time.

Recently I am being taught a lesson in validation. My entire life, at times, has felt like a search to be validated. Searching for acceptance by my parents, family, friends, co-workers…the list is endless. The truth is that validation from man becomes an endless quest because no man, no person can give us a validity that fulfills that void. Have you ever been accused of something and immediately want to defend yourself; especially when you know you’re innocent? We rush to tell everyone who will listen: “I didn’t do it!” When the truth is that the one being who validates us the most already KNOWS we didn’t do it. We’re innocent. Yet rather than being accepting of His love, mercy and understanding, we strive to get people on our side. To understand our point. To believe that we are innocent. Social networking wars seem to be endless because of this. Someone says something on one page then it becomes a texting match of who can get the most people on their side…people who were never involved in the initial situation in the first place. We are tried by a court of public opinion by people who may live half a world away and have no concrete evidence as to what events actually unfolded to begin with.

Galatians 1:10 says:  ”Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Well, which one is it? Have I not given my life to Christ and committed to live for Him? If so then what do I care who approves of me? Certainly many of us have jobs and need the acceptance of our work from our bosses and it always feels good when someone recognizes when we do something worth praise. Im not talking about those cases. Im talking about when we strive to get others to appreciate us. When we crave for others to take notice in what we’ve done or our situation. Perhaps we crave for someone to take pity on us, which in and of itself is a form of validation. One of the definitions of validation is “to establish the soundness of; corroborate.” Ever notice how our hair-brain ideas and crazy schemes suddenly seem rational as soon as we find someone to agree with us? It’s as if where two or more are gathered, insane ideas become accepted and therefor gain approval to be acted upon. HOWEVER, if we take those same notions before Christ and ask Him to validate them, more often than not, we realize the answer will be a resounding “NO!”

We seek the approval of man. Man who judges us, who talks down to us, who doesnt know our heart, who ridicules us at every chance, who will turn on us in a moment, who will never fully hold our best interest at heart, who uses us and who will never truly be able to fulfill that burden. We worry about what others think of us. We waste time defending ourselves to people who dont know us. We give energy to those who, a year from now, wont even remember our name. Yet when it comes to the ONE who, without a doubt, holds our well being in the palm of His hand because He loves us more than anyone else could we all too often forget that He’s the one, the ONLY one, whose opinion matters.

Millions of us have broken spirits because of things in our pasts. Those feelings didn’t get created overnight and they wont be fixed overnight. Healing takes time. I can attest though that Jesus Christ wants us whole. He wants us fixed and isn’t content with leaving us searching for completeness from anyone or anything but Him. What would each of our lives be like if we put as much time and effort into knowing Christ as we do in trying to win people over? People are fickle. Our attention span is about as long as a Charmin commercial. Ask yourself: are the people that I am trying to win favor from today going to be willing to stand up for me a year from now? I think we all know the answer to that but still yet, ask yourself will God? Who are you giving your time and energy to? Who deserves it? “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15

Yes, at whatever cost, I choose to serve God.

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