...I find some of what he says worth repeating.
In his book, Pleasing God, Sproul bases some thoughts on Romans 12:2:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
He writes: "I learned very early not to trust the cheers of the crowd. But I never learned to disdain them. They remain a seductive force in my life. I still struggle to please men. I still struggle with the mystique of popularity. I still hate to be booed.
To be 'conformed' to this world is to be with (Latin con) the forms or structures of this world. It means doing the popular thing. The conflict is this: What is popular with men is not always popular with God. To be pleasing to God is not always to be pleasing to men. Sometimes we must choose whom we will please. That is a daily struggle in the Christian life." (page 61)
Peer pressure can invade the minds of preachers as well as pew-sitters. No one is exempt from temptation to seek the praise of man. We seek approval and get all flustered, anxious, and impatient with ourselves when we are not complimented, praised, and validated. We can get so caught up in what others think of us, that we get depressed when we don't receive positive feedback, are criticized or rejected. On the otherhand, we can get all puffed up and filled with pride when we receive accolades and roses.
Friends, either reaction is of the flesh. Our flesh, which was crucified with Christ on the cross, can lead us into unrighteousness, evil, unholiness, and sin. Our desire to be liked by man should never supercede our desire to love God, to obey God, to grow in the image of His Son. As Sproul says, "Sometimes we must choose whom we will please. That is a daily struggle in the Christian life."
I contend that
I read a blogpost about "preaching the gospel to ourselves" this week. It discussed how some folks create a complex thinking system in how to understand the simple message of God's Son. I find it more amusing (I'm sorry), than I find it difficult. You see, I've learned to not follow after every whim of doctrinal thought and every system of belief that man puts forth to follow. I simply follow the Word as it is written. (It's really not a novel idea.
The psalmist wrote: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your ways."
It's not rocket science; after all, that's why Jesus couldn't stay here. He left His Spirit to lead us and teach us. The apostle Paul told us to pattern ourselves after him, to do as he did. Not to be glib, but I don't want Paul's struggles.
Whether sometimes I "struggle in the Christian life" or not, I know I have a personal God who dwells within me with His checks and balance sheet at the end of every day. His Word says "His mercies are new every morning", and His "strength is made perfect in my weakness". His grace gives me confidence to get up and start all over again. I have God's promises that He will keep me and help me bear the burden of my flesh. He gives me the power to overcome the temptation of relying on flattery and praise of man to fuel me and motivate me with false pride. Seriously, folks...
while I enjoy a modest amount of readership, and have found a kernel of appreciation from those who follow my blogs and devotional sites, I realize that I am only on their subscription list as long as they are interested in what I have to say. I know that should I write something with which they disagree, SelahV Today or Daily Impact will be deleted from their blogroll. I know that though I may feel all kinds of warm and giddy when someone adds me to their list or affirms me, the feeling is fleeting. Warm fuzzies are great, but they can become yesterday's lint-balls with the setting of the sun.
Even Jesus was a victim of popularity's ebb and flow. He didn't get all delirious and big-headed about the throngs that followed Him. He didn't get all worked up when He was rejected by the Pharisees. He didn't get depressed on His way to Calvary. He kept walking..."obedient unto death". He let the soldiers nail Him to that beam of wood, and He endured the ultimate humiliation to absorb the cost of forgiveness for man's rebellion against a Holy God.
For me. For you. For the entire world's sin. We can accept that as fact and enjoy the blessing of His gift to us, or we can walk away from the cross and choose to ignore it. We can choose to please God by returning His love, or we can refuse His gift of grace. The freedom we have to accept His grace rewards us with the liberty to live forever in His embrace.
And I walk on by faith. I write by faith. Faith that I am doing what God wants me to do. Faith that I am hearing and discerning the Spirit's lease on my life and I am yielding the key to my heart and will into His keeping. I just abide in Him and He abides in me. Life is not such a struggle, then. I just abide in Him and He abides in me. Whether folks agree with me or not...it's a risk worth taking to keep on pecking the keyboard with the truth as I discern it... and leave the rest to God. selahV