I’ve been the one surrounded by encouraging people after preaching a sermon. But I’ve also been the one ignored and seemingly rejected. And I’m learning to be okay with both.
I often find myself deceived by the applause of man. Every time I publish a message, I find myself discouraged. I hardly ever get the response that I expect. Each week, I pour my heart into the Bible. Sometimes, to the point of mental exhaustion. Only to receive a handful of likes on Facebook. And it’s quite discouraging.
But I shouldn’t even think those thoughts. Let alone write them. But I doubt I’m the only one who tries to please people over God. And so, here’s a message to people pleasers like me.
It’s a well-known idiom. But to me, it means something more.
One of my favorite people in the Bible is John the Baptist. I preach about him quite a bit. And today is no different. After all, John the Baptist ranks among the most humble of any human in Scripture.
John is noted for saying, “‘He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease’” (John 3:30 ESV).
Preparing the way for Christ, John the Baptist was not liked by many. This landed him a spot in prison. He did nothing wrong. But John was unwilling to compromise his commitment to the Gospel.
To the lost and lonely. The outcasts. Downtrodden. And forgotten. This one’s for you. But don’t worry. It’s for me, too.
We all long for a place to belong. A place to call home. And it’s more than a building with a front door. We desire something more.
Does God have a home? Yes. But it may surprise you to know His address.
In the Old Testament, God dwelt in a temple. Behind a curtain. In the Most Holy Place. Where only the highest priest could go. And he had a lamb to show.
Once a year. For the forgiveness of sins. But it never made amends.
So God put Himself in our shoes. Through the person of Jesus Christ. To be the perfect sacrifice.
Charles Swindoll says, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” While I’m no statistician, I’m pretty sure he’s right. At least close.
Nearly a year ago, I graduated high school. As I walked across the stage, Proverbs 16:9 was read. “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (NLT). And let me tell you, I’m finding this verse to be true.
I had plans. Godly plans. I had just received a big scholarship to a Christian university. I had just given a graduation speech that escalated quickly in the community. I was being recognized on Walk-FM as a “World Changer.” I had a girlfriend who I genuinely felt God had given me. For the most part, life was good.