Do you rely on the approval of others?
Week 22 – Celebrating 100 Years of Oswald Chambers
SCRIPTURE: “Jesus did not commit Himself to them…for He knew what was in man.” John 2:24-25
OSWALD: “Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because He put His trust in God first. He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for others. If I put my trust in human beings first, the end result will be my despair and hopelessness toward everyone. I will become bitter because I have insisted that people be what no person can ever be— absolutely perfect and right. Never trust anything in yourself or in anyone else, except the grace of God.” – (My Utmost for His Highest, May 31st)
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How It Spoke to Me…
After enjoying a long season of favor in ministry many years ago, I read this entry while walking through a difficult time – a painful, yet life-changing event I describe in Having a Mary Spirit. A difference in opinions between me and some dear friends had grown into a huge rift. The removal of their approval hurt so bad I thought I was going to die.
“Our Lord never put His trust in any person,” I read one morning during my devotions. That statement and the scripture Chamber cites from John 2 put a finger on a weak spot in my soul, illuminating the people-pleasing tendency that ran like a dark streak through my soul. I loved Jesus and I knew I was supposed to get my identity from Him alone, but more often than not, I looked to people around me to tell me who I was. If they approved, then I was okay. But if they were critical, it would send me reeling emotionally.
I was suffering from idolatry – the sin of looking to someone or something other than God to give me significance. The problem with such sin is that it gets you coming or going. You either feel inordinately proud when people applaud or swing into doubt and self-hatred when they don’t.Jesus didn’t waste time monitoring popularity polls or playing to the crowd. Click To Tweet
As a result, He was the most balanced human who ever lived. His secret? “Jesus did not commit Himself to them…for He knew what was in man.” John 2:24-25. One version says, “he did not entrust himself to them.”
Now, this verse wasn’t written during a difficult time in ministry. It was during a time when Christ’s work was getting great press – it was in its ascendancy! Verse 22 tells us many believed in His name because of the “signs which He was doing.” But, wisely, Jesus didn’t buy into the hype or people’s applause. Instead, He listened for only one thing…the approval of heaven. The “well done” of His Father.
As a result, Jesus was able to meet opposition and disfavor when it came with the same unruffled God-confidence He’d had when things were going well. Instead of despairing or becoming bitter when His approval rating began to plummet, He continued to reach out in love. Going so far as to embrace the cross so that God’s grace could pour out to those who’d so cruelly rejected Him – and to you and me as well.
May we be conduits of that grace, Lord Jesus. In the good times and the bad, may we love other people yet never “entrust” ourselves to anyone but You.
May we believe the best in others and be slow to expect the worst – not because we’ve put our hope in the basic goodness of man, but because we believe in a mighty Savior and the power of His grace to save.
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I’d love to hear from you… what has helped you to put your trust in God rather than people?