Whose Opinion Matters?
[reprinted from July 19, 2011]
They want to serve themselves and not Christ the Lord. Their flattery and fancy talk fool people who don’t know any better. Â Â Romans 16:18 (CEV)
These people grumble and complain and live by their own selfish desires. They brag about themselves and flatter others to get what they want. Â Â Jude 16 (CEV)
No matter your age, no matter your lot in life, what people say about you passes through your ears to your brain and, too often, gets stuck there. 99 44/100% of the time, whatever is said isn’t truly accurate and so should not be replayed in your head. But it is.
Paul, the most prolific New Testament writer, and Jude, that tiny, often missed letter just before Revelation, warn us about people and what they say. They use the word flatter. Paul’s warning seems to be pointed to those in the Church. He speaks about people who cause division and put obstacles that are in direct opposition to Jesus’ teaching. Yes, I know Believers who do that. â€œKeep away from themâ€ Paul says (v. 17). Keep away from them if we are both Believers? Yup. They aren’t perfect and God isn’t done with them any more than He isn’t done with me! If you join a fellowship looking for perfection, you will be disappointed.
People say hurtful, destructive things offhand and purposefully. It seems to start in us very young and begins with â€œjoking aroundâ€ as we say things that â€œteaseâ€ or â€œcut downâ€ in order to get a laugh. Is it really funny? We know that words are powerful. God spoke all that we know into being. God’s Word is Life. We also know that satan’s full-time job is to accuse us â€“ and so his words try to destroy.
My husband wrote a book a few years ago, When People Speak for God. He is often asked by others, â€œHow can I know what God’s will is for my life?â€ They want to know if their ideas, plans, decisions are from the voice of God â€“ or not. Have you ever heard someone tell you that God told them to tell you something? How do you know it’s really God? How do you know it isn’t the person’s voice and it is, at best, mis-heard and at worse, a manipulation?
For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way, since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Â 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (HCSB)
We must intentionally consider the power of words in our lives. We must understand their power and utilize what God has given us to know and see His truths. He says we should â€œtake captive every thoughtâ€ and put them under the control of Jesus. It is Jesus that knows what is truth and what is just another lie of satan. It is the power of His Spirit that give us the discernment that we need to filter truth from lies.
We also need to recognize that it is God’s opinion, and only God’s opinion, that matters in my life. The applause of people, their appreciation for what I do, their criticism, their disapproval of what I do and to whom I devote my time can not be of importance to me. When I pay attention to what they think, I am not paying attention to what God thinks.
So let us take time today to take capture every thought and put it under the authority of Jesus and His Holy Spirit. Let us seek to hear Him and listen only to Him. That is Life to me.
Holy Love written and sung by Andy Park