I now, looking back, can see the mistakes I made, the compromises I allowed myself to slip into, and how I ultimately put God on the back burner of my life. Now I can see how miserable my life would have been if I had continued the way I was heading. And I thank God (in all sincerity) for pulling me out of that situation, despite the initial hurt it caused -- the hurt would have been far greater if He had let me flounder around.
Anyway. Getting back to my original point, I'm currently striving to get my focus back where it should have always been -- God. In the meantime, I got this book titled Our Last Great Hope by Ronnie Floyd (to be reviewed soon) from Booksneeze with the agreement of I get a free book to read, in return for an honest review. Easy enough. I was reading it the other night, and the first chapter got me thinking. Am I a slave to approval?
The book itself is about witnessing and sharing God's free gift of salvation with others. This particular chapter deals with your own heart, and what's holding you back from witnessing. Floyd points out how we are generally very concerned about what others think about us, even simply subconsciously. He then points out the problem with this tendency:
"But we can become slaves to the approval of others....There's nothing wrong with that -- until approval becomes our defining reality."
In other words, there's nothing wrong with wanting people to like you, think highly of you, have a good reputation -- until it gets between us and God, or between us and God's work. I like the verse Floyd quotes:
"For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ." - Galations 1:10
At one point I know I was very much concerned with the opinion others held toward me -- one person in particular. But though that time in my life has passed, I ask myself, am I still a slave to the approval of others? Do I still care so much about what other people think about me, that I am unwilling to follow God's clear cut commandments? Am I still willing to step out of God's plan for my life for the sake of being "cool", for the sake of my earthly reputation?
"...if I can focus utterly and completely on pleasing God, suddenly life becomes very simple." -- Our Last Great Hope