I am someone with a people-pleasing tendency, who had to learn with help from God not to place too much value on the recognition from others. Believe me, I have grown much in this area, but, every now and again, I catch myself gauging my success on other’s feedback.
The Holy Spirit recently challenged me on this. I was reminded of the truth that my value is not determined by other’s opinions, but by God’s thoughts, and what His Word says about me. Likewise, the success of my endeavors is not defined by worldly measures of accomplishment, but by God Himself.
Allow me to explain. In today’s society, by worldly standards, success is measured by our growth in popularity or the amount of positive feedback we receive. People live for the number of likes, subscriptions, comments, and followers, they obtain, when they share a photo, idea, thought, experience, or belief on social media platforms. It is easy to get sucked into that hype of instant recognition or approval offered by these tools. The dilemma is, that we subconsciously start to apply this system of approval to life outside of the cyber world. We start to think that we are not measuring up as a daughter, friend, sibling, wife, girlfriend, mother, grandmother, employee, employer, or servant of God because we are not receiving the recognition we need, or expect.
Some food for thought. Just because people do not show their appreciation, does not mean that they are not appreciative of you or your efforts.
God specifically drew my attention to how I live, and do what He has called me to do. He challenged me with these words: ”When you are doing something for Me and the expansion of My kingdom, how much does the expansion part mean to you? Be careful. You are placing higher value on the numbers (kingdom), than on doing it for Me.”
In the world, expansion is often synonymous with success. I was challenged by the fact that I felt disappointed that I was not making a difference in more people’s lives. The flaw in my thinking, was that I was comparing my small impact to that of renowned authors, songwriters, pastors, and artists who have millions of followers. And all that disappointment by using superficial worldly standards of comparison.
While writing this down now, I feel quite embarrassed. I was truly selfish in my outlook. I was making what God called me to do in essence about me and my success. Although I longed for others to experience God’s love, grace, and truth, I realized that my motives were not pure. It may have started pure, but the enemy shifted my focus to what my flesh needed. I was reverting back to pleasing people and not pleasing God. I had to acknowledge my pride and envy, and humbly ask for forgiveness. I subsequently began to reassess my motives and asked God to bring my focus back to what is truly important and eternal.
The Holy Spirit reminded me that numbers do not matter to Him. For God there is no distinction in value or importance between one person or another. He longs to have a personal relationship with each and every person. Jesus Himself, as the Good Shepherd, said He will leave the 99 to find the one who is lost. Jesus did not always get the recognition for the miracles or acts of kindness and love He performed. Many people rejected Him as Saviour and the Son of God. Of the ten lepers he healed, only one came back to thank Him. Jesus did all as commanded by and for the glory of the Father. Thus, my obedience to God is more important than any pat on the back or “well done” I can receive.
So, who is to say that the one person you influence is less important than influencing millions when you are obedient to God’s call? Think about how Ananias was instructed by God in the book of Acts to lay hands on Saul to heal his sight. Even though, we do not read of Anania’s life further, we read a lot about Saul’s ministry in his letters in the Bible. Saul / Paul’s writings are still impacting every person reading the Bible today. Ananais could never have guessed what his act of obedience, towards that one specific person, could mean for thousands of people in the distant future. He was a link in a whole chain of crucial events to follow. So, if God calls you to reach or impact but one person, and you respond in obedience, it can lead to millions being saved. Do it for that one child, spouse, partner, friend, family member, or stranger!
Furthermore, if we are called to bring glory to God and extend His kingdom, the focus can never be something other than God Himself. We must do everything for Him and Him alone. Do everything as unto the Lord, and therefore do it well. We need to be obedient to Him until the end and not focused on the recognition or praise of others. We live for an audience of One. Paul, with his successful ministry, also wrote with true humility that he was there to please God and not people.
Galatians 1:10 AMP ”Am I now trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
It is a fact that some people DO reach millions with their songs, writings, videos, messages, teachings, advice, service, talents, and the Gospel. If your words, song, message, effort, or testimony reaches but one person for God, will that be enough? It has to be. Some people will even witness millions of people’s lives being influenced by what they do, while others will never witness the impact they make. Remember, God sees all, hears all, and is your witness. Your obedience to His call will be rewarded, but pleasing Him, is reward enough.
Colossians 3:23 TPT ”Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.”
We are not on earth to make ourselves famous, but to make God known to all men. He remains the purpose and focus of all we do. We are just the vessels of clay in His hands. We need to be soft, flexible, willing to be molded, knead, and pressed into what The Potter requires. A vessel needs to be emptied in order to be filled with whatever it is created to hold or carry. Ask God to empty you of your selfish needs and fleshly desires, in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit and all He delights in. We must become less and He must become more. Do it for The One!
Father God Almighty Who is the Alpha and Omega. Everything was created by You, for You. Thank you that I can be part of Your Masterplan and that I have a role to play. Search my heart and please replace all my selfish desires with Your agenda and all that pleases you. Open my eyes and ears to those around me that need to hear Your message of love, redemption, grace, and hope. Help me to look to You and not to get distracted by the ways of the world. May I always pursue excellence in all I do and remember the importance of the one. I aim to please You foremost in all I do. Amen.
Stay resolute my friend.
VERSE IMAGE OF THE WEEK