For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
I hate being misunderstood.
It’s one of the most frustrating things for me – I’m saying something, doing something and people (even people who are supposed to know me) interpret it another way.
Put their own spin on it.
Tell me I’m not trusting God or some such thing.
God’s upside down, inside out ways call His people to go against the grain.
When I go against the grain, I get splinters.
Splinters of judgment.
Splinters of rejection.
Splinters of gossip.
Splinters of misunderstanding.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2
There are times I can’t serve or please both God and people.
I must value God’s way first and best and most.
Trust He sees my heart and knows the truth.
Take the disciples….the first ones Jesus called were fishermen.
Ordinary men who rose early, gathered their nets and proceeded to the shore.
It’s was a day like any other until Jesus showed up.
Nets cast mid-air….“Come follow Me.”
Matthew 4:20 says:
“At once they left their nets and followed Him.”
It doesn’t say they went home, packed a bag, said good bye to their loved ones – it says “at once”.
Can you imagine the village gossip?
“Did you hear? Simon Peter just left everything, walked away from his business and family to follow some man who showed up on the beach.”
“Maybe it’s just a cover and he’s really having an affair.”
“I saw him drink a glass of wine last week….I wonder if he has a problem we don’t know about.”
“I can’t believe he’d just leave like that….if my husband did that I’d have him jailed for desertion.”
The ways of God aren’t the ways of man.
In His upside down economy the weak are strong, the fools wise.
Luke 7:36-50 tells another story – one of a party crasher.
It’s a respectable party at a religious leader’s home. They are seated having polite conversation when a prostitute from town learns Jesus is there.
She immediately decides to pop in with her prize possession – an expensive jar of perfume.
Seeing Jesus, she is overcome with emotion and begins to cry.
The woman lets down her hair (scandalous by itself in that time and culture) and begins to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears and dries them with her hair.
Scripture says she kissed His feet many times and rubbed them with perfume.
Kissed His feet.
A woman of poor reputation and a life of sin shows up in the religious leader’s uptight, self righteous home to encounter Jesus.
Unwelcome and uninvited.
They are horrified.
Their reaction is to dismiss the woman and discredit Jesus.
“If He were a prophet, He would know that the woman touching Him is a sinner!”
“How dare she!”
“I mean, who does that?”
Those who witness the scene miss the picture of love, forgiveness and grace.
They see through the eyes of judgment and men, not the heart of God.
Things that don’t make sense.
Things that go against the grain.
• God called a murdering stutterer to confront the most powerful man in Egypt.
• Noah was told to build a boat to prepare for a flood in a world that had never seen rain.
• A seven time march toppled a city.
• A murdering adulterer God says has a heart like His and chooses his lineage for His own.
• An unwed, young girl mothered the Messiah.
When Jesus arrived, He went largely unnoticed because people expected the Messiah to come as a wealthy, powerful king not a baby in a stable.
God’s ways defy reason.
He is the Word made man.
Godhead three in one.
He walks on water, parts seas, brings dead things to life.
He is miracles and magic and wonder.
Stars and galaxies.
Dirt and dust.
We want to use rules and logic to define Him.
The wild, radical love of God can never be tamed or fully understood.
Make room for miracles and magic.
Make room for things not understood.
Choose love over judgment – it covers a multitude of sins.
Let words be kind, seasoned with grace, truth and love.
Trust God and lean not on my own understanding.
We are all called to go against the grain.
Seeking the approval and love of man is an enemy tactic to keep me from the will of God.
Spiritual spa to serve the saved.
Choose this day whom I will serve.
I can’t serve two masters.
People approval is about me – not God.
His Ways are counter intuitive and go against the grain – if I’m following, mine will too.
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