One of the threats to our quest to live as disciples of Jesus is our desire to be liked by other people. This desire often leads us away from anyone or anything that causes us to take an honest look at who we are becoming and the life we are living. Our desire for approval and acceptance affects the direction of our lives and is largely born from our various insecurities.
God wants to love you out of all your insecurities. It’s a beautiful truth. If you sit with it and allow it to sink deep into your heart and mind it will change the way you live.
God wants to love you out of all your insecurities. As we grow spiritually we become less interested in people’s opinions and more interested in God’s. As we grow spiritually our need for the affirmation and approval of others diminishes.
Johannes Kepler, the 17th century German scientist, famously observed, “I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” Along those lines, the approval of the whole world is worthless if the approval of God is lost.
The need for other people’s approval is in direct opposition to discipleship. Our desire to be liked will prevent us from making difficult choices and announcing hard to hear truths.
You can seek the approval of men or God’s approval, but you cannot seek both.
Now let’s take a look at today’s difficult teaching.
“If any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.”
It is from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 10, verse 14.
Once we decide to share the truth of the Gospel with others through our words and actions, we will experience opposition. Jesus’ counsel in these situations is to move on. If we stay, our desire for the approval of others may cause us to massage the message or abandon the Gospel altogether.
But we experience opposition for reasons other than announcing the Gospel. Opposition may arise because we are simply wrong about something. Opposition will arise if we behave selfishly in relationships. Opposition may arise because people disagree with our opinions.
And much damage can be done when we apply Gospel principals to our wrongdoing, selfishness, and opinions. For example, if someone corrects us for something we have done that was hurtful to others, shaking the dust from our feet as we leave their house would be to compound our error.
Our response to someone disagreeing with our opinions should be different to someone disagreeing with the Gospel. There is a difference between our opinions and the Gospel. Though you wouldn’t know it listening to how vigorously some people proclaim their opinions. And as we grow in holiness our opinions align more and more with the Gospel with every passing day. For we discover that any opinion that opposes God’s opinion is not worth having.
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