Audience of One
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Gal 1:10
A few weeks ago, I did something crazy. I pulled the plug from the matrix of Facebook. Yes I deactivated my account whether it is temporary or permanent, I wanted to give the reasons behind my sabbatical. This first reason really has to do with the fear of man or man-pleasing. You see we are to live before an audience of One. All our lives and all that we do should be to draw the attention of a God who’s eyes are searching, scanning this earth for those who have their hearts set on Him (2 Chron 16:9). God is to be our audience of One.
But something crazy has happened. We have begun living our lives and doing all that we do before the eyes of Facebook friends. We report our wherabouts, our workouts, our thoughts, actions, deeds, even our looks, fashion, and appearance are to gain the attention of people. We live for their attention and praise, checking in often to see how we are “liked” or what kind of response we have drawn. We are not living for an audience of one, for his approval only, but also for the approval of our peers.
And why not? This feedback and this reward is immediate whereas the attention of God is eternal. This reward is very visible while the reward of God is invisible. So, for our immediate gratification we choose not to live before this audience of One but the audience of our peers. We do this in many ways:
Audience of One: Invisible Giving…This revelation began with insight on tithing. When you hand a monetary gift of 10% to someone, you are seen. You may be doing it “for God” but you are getting part of the credit, part of the glory. You get to do the “rescuing”. You get to look charitable and kind. And that thankful look on her face, it was rewarding & directed at you (not God, alone). But that’s all the reward you get.
When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do–blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. Mt 6:2
But when you tithe, you discreetly slip a check into the plate. Or these days, you may even give online. No one knows how much or how often. God alone. You don’t get credit. You don’t get glory. (Okay maybe the church treasurer & IRS know, but you get the point).
This is probably why less than 4% of the church tithe. (And some Barna Group statistics report 2% ). They don’t get any attention from men. They don’t get any reward from men.
It’s actually a little painful when I give because first of all, I am giving up a part of my strength. And secondly, I am having to reset my mind on eternity, eternal rewards, and the fact that only God sees what I am doing. The only attention and reward I get is from God. Is that enough?
This is just in the area of money, but it applies to other areas of life.
Audience of One: My body, for example…Am I working out to please men? So that I will look better than that girl in jeans? Or so that I will like what I see in the mirror? Or maybe so people will recognize my pace & distance of my last run. Or am I doing it because my body is not my own, a vessel of the Holy Spirit and it pleases God that I take care of it?
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave … Gal 2:20
Audience of One: My time, thoughts, & deeds: Am I “checking in” at cool spots so that I can get the attention of men? Am I showing my Facebook peers how ‘godly’ I am by posting a status about praying for someone or serving? Or maybe I am presenting my godliness through statuses that are bible verses and quotes from Christian writers. Even my time spent in prayer, if it is not done in secret, may be for the wrong reasons.
Everything they do is done for men to see Mt 23:5
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men Col 3:23
Now, I am not saying that connecting and sharing through Facebook is wrong. But I am saying that I began doing things with the wrong motivation. It may have not been 100% wrong, but if there is any selfish ambition in my motives then it is wrong. And if ever pleasing people becomes my goal, then it’s time to take a step back and recalibrate my soul.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
And once “off Facebook” I can see how I live when no one ‘sees’, before God’s eyes alone. Because God is always watching, and to Him alone will we be accountable.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Heb 4:13
This is a serious issue to me. Paul stated that if he were living for man’s (his peers’ approval) then he would not be Christ’s servant. I’m not sure at what level to read into this. But it could be a statement all the way to the bone and marrow of faith. It could be saying that if we are living not for God’s approval alone, then we are not Christians. I rather think it means, then we are not “faithful servants” and counted this way. But nonetheless, I want to live my life before an audience of One, my God, all my days. God, help me to live before an audience of One, to live before You and You alone.
Next post on this Topic: Facebook: It’s a Matter of Time