Tuesday, January 13, 2015

If We Worried Less About What Others Think of Us

If we worried less about what other people think of us, and were more concerned with what God thinks of us, it would go well with us. In fact, if we didn’t worry at all about what people think of us, and were concerned only with what God thinks of us, it would go even better.

We can’t control others: their impression of us, their misperception of us, their presuppositions about us, their wishing we could be different, their lack of respect for our values, etc. etc. But we can control—through a reliance on the Holy Spirit for self-control—a clear conscience before God.

God knows our heart and everything that flows out of it: words, actions, service and interpersonal interactions. God not only knows, He gets it exactly right! God does not misunderstand us or misinterpret. That can only be a good thing—when our hearts are pure—and even when they’re not. On the one hand, we get a “Well done,” and on the other, we get a “We’ve got work to do. But have faith in Me and we’ll get it done.” 

Our precept and prayer is that God will “create in me a pure heart...and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). There needs to be a willingness and agreement on our part for Him to do that.

No matter how right our motives, someone somewhere will get it wrong about us. No matter how sincere, someone somewhere will think we’re not. No matter how troubled or sad inside, someone somewhere will misinterpret that sadness as aloofness, being cold, or not liking them. No matter who we are or what we say or how we say it, someone somewhere will not appreciate it or think it good enough. They have hearts too; hearts that are, at any given time, also tainted with sin. We do well to remember that.

It’s time we stop hoping for and chasing high regard from others and instead focus on becoming Biblically mature in Christ.

copyright Barb Harwood

“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the LORD’S anointed stands here before the LORD.’
But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:6-7

“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts,
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean.
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Psalm 51:1-12

“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’
But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2: 11-16

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:24-26

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1: 3-8

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