We humans are always trying to make a good impression. Most people spend a great deal of time worrying about what everyone else is going to think. As Christians, we are supposed to be most concerned about what God thinks. I’m inclined to believe that many of us within the body of Christ over-estimate the opinions of humans.
I remember in the very early years of my ministry, I was getting ready to preach. I had studied and prayed. I was ready, but as I sat in the pew, waiting to get to my spot in the service, I started wondering, “How will folks like the sermon? Not a good place for a preacher to be. God convicted me that my focus was all wrong. He said, “You seek to please Me, and I’ll take care of the people.” How liberating!
As I turned my attention to pleasing God and began to trust that He had been with me throughout the preparation process, my nerves calmed and my anxiety washed away. I felt an incredible peace. I remember knowing that I was loved, and there was nothing I could do to diminish that outpouring of God’s grace as long as I set my heart on being who HE wanted me to be rather than the person the congregation might want me to be.
Many mistakes I’ve made in life have had their roots in trying to impress others, and worrying about the effects of my actions on them has caused me much anxiety, as well. It’s not that I ever want to become insensitive to the needs and concerns of others, but I’ve discovered that God wants me to please an audience of One. When I seek to please Him, He uses me to do what is most advantageous for others. It’s truly the best way to live.