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Do You Perform for an Audience of One?


The Bible clearly tells us that God wants us to be humble and have a modest opinion of ourselves. There are many verses that deal with pride and humility, but consider the plain words of Proverbs 16:5: "The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: they will not go unpunished." Most of us sinners, however, harbor varying degrees of pride and like to think that others look upon us favorably and hold us in high regard. If we become overly self-conscious, we might even fret about how others perceive our appearance or actions. We tend to focus more on ourselves than on God.


It is important to remember that our relationship with God and His opinion of us are all that ultimately matter. The Apostle Paul explains this truth in 1 Corinthians 4:1-4, ending with these words in verse 4: "My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord Who judges me." We needn't worry about being judged/critiqued/approved by other humans as long as we live with the confidence that we are right with God in all we do. Similarly, we should resist and dismiss the efforts of prideful people who try to intimidate or bully us (Philippians 1:28-29). We should trust in God in all situations. David's words should embolden us: "In God I have put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 56:11).  We really don't need to waste time worrying about what others think of us if we place our trust in God alone. If we believe that He loves us, leads us, and is with each of us, we can then be secure in our identity.


We are also told not to worry about getting credit from others or about being seen publicly when we do our good works. It is sufficient that God alone sees what we do (Matthew 6:1-4). Our first priority should be to meet His standards as set forth in the Bible and to thus please Him, not other people (1 Thessalonians 2:4). In many cases, when we proclaim the Gospel and do God's will by serving others, we will also please other people. However, when we don't please others, we must endure any rejection and keep moving forward confidently in our faith, as Jesus told the disciples to do (Matthew 10:11-14). Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him. As we serve God in an unassuming manner, people will take note, and our witnessing will draw others to Him (Matthew 5:16). 


This God-centered perspective on life has been described as a life lived "performing for an audience of One." Jesus lived such a life of humble submission to God's will. He prayed to His Father before any undertaking and didn't worry about pleasing Himself or others: "By Myself I can do nothing: I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me." (John 5:30).


The Disciple Group encourages you to think about your relationship with God. Do you trust in Him and "perform" for Him above all mortals? Do you seek God because of what you want Him to do for you or because He is worthy of your praise and thanks? Is He first on your mind in the morning and last on your mind at night? Do you care more about what other people think of you or about what God thinks of you? We should follow Jesus' example and humbly seek to please God first as we go about our daily lives and interact with others. Through selfless service and unwavering faith and trust in Jesus, we can confidently have hope for our deliverance from sin and death. Nothing else is more important. "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:23-24).