The admiration of people is such a dangerous trap for me. It always has been and maybe it always will be. I was the oldest so there was always that natural propensity for jumping through the hoops and being a rule follower. But it seems like it got out of hand and, like many things that get out of hand in our lives, was the very thing that brought me to Jesus.
Being a rule follower, my story of life before I came to follow Jesus isn’t full of dramatic rebellion or exciting stories. Instead, it was full of a constant striving. A striving to do more. To be more. A striving that never seemed to be satisfied with anything. What I was doing or how hard I was working never seemed to be enough for me. And the praise from other people I admired didn’t seem to be enough either.
Finally, when I was a teenager, I started to get ahold of the Truth that I didn’t have to perform for God. He didn’t have to be impressed with me to love me. He loved me more before I had done anything outstanding. It seems like a simple truth, but it is taking quite a long to time replace all of the old lies and ways of thinking.
So I have a recurring tug of war going on within me when it comes to all of this. It’s the war between wanting to impress others and being repulsed by it.
I look at Peter’s response to the crowd’s amazement after he healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3). He says,
“Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?”
He was not allowing them to think for a second that what had happened was by his own power. He took this opportunity of the people looking at him and pointed them to the only Healer, the only Giver of Life. I love that.
But when I am really honest in my heart of hearts, there are times when I walk into a room, and I want people to be impressed with me. I want respect. I want influence.
And I have to guard what I say and pray before I open my mouth. I have to ask the Lord to search my heart (Ps 139:23) and show me whether what I’m about to say comes from a heart that is pointing people to my King, or from a heart that is insecure and trying to impress.
Oh Lord, search my heart and know my anxious thoughts. Show me those motives in my heart that seek to lift myself up instead of You. Because You alone are my King. You are the One I seek. Help me to run after no other.