X-Ray Questions: Whose opinion of you counts?

This week we continue our X-Ray Questions series, as we look at the question: Whose opinion of you counts? You can read the other posts in this series by clicking here.

X-Ray Question:

(13) Whose opinion of you counts?

From whom do you desire approval and fear rejection? Whose value system do you measure yourself against? In whose eyes are you living? Whose love and approval do you need?

Understand

When you lose God, you enter a jungle of distortion. You tend to live before your own eyes or before the eyes of others – or both. When you lose or take God out of the equation, what is left is to seek the approval of man, which will ultimately leave you wanting.

Even for us who have not removed God completely from the picture, the approval of man has a strong pull on our lives, often causing us to seek it, rather than God’s approval. Since man’s approval has such a strong pull on our lives, we must fight the desire within to seek man’s approval, finding our approval in the Lord alone.

If we do not fight, we will compromise our convictions, not speaking up when we know Scripture speaks against a certain issue. When we remain silent on issues because we fear we will lose the respect of men, we are like the authorities who did not stand up to the Pharisees. John says,

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:42-43 ESV)

May we make it a point to seek the glory that comes from God more than the glory that comes from man.

Social Idols

The “social idols” which encompass approval and fear can take numerous forms:

  • Acceptance or Rejection
  • Being Included or Excluded
  • Praise or Criticism
  • Affection or Hostility
  • Adoration or Belittlement
  • Intimacy or Alienation
  • Being Understood or Caricatured

Awareness of these “social idols” is the first step, but we must also ask God to reveal to us where we may be seeking to please others rather than Him. In other words, we must plead with God in our prayers to reveal to us if the opinion of man is an idol that is present in our lives.

Repent

If after we pray, God reveals to us that approval is an idol in our lives, we must repent and turn from that idol. We do so by realizing true approval comes from God alone. The approval man gives us is temporary and situational. We may have man’s approval one day, but the next day they may reject us because we have not lived up to their expectations.

In contrast to the world, those who have repented of their sins and professed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will never be rejected by God. As a result, they should never fear the loss of God’s approval.

Why want believers be rejected by God?

Because God accepts us based on Christ’s cross work, not our own work. When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His righteousness is imputed to us, so that we too become righteous (2 Cor. 5:21). As those who are righteous, we are just as Jesus is even now in the world (1 John 4:17), meaning we are sons of God, just as Jesus is the Son of God. Those who are God’s children have nothing to fear. Instead they are to be confident on the Day of Judgment, knowing that God abides in them and they in God (1 John 4:15-18).

Scripture

Here are a few passages from God’s word to meditate on this week, as you consider the question: Whose opinion of you counts?: Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 29:25; John 12:43; 1 Cor. 4:3-5; 2 Cor. 10:18.

Resource

All X-Ray questions taken from David Powlison’s book Seeing with New Eyes.

X-Ray Questions: Whose Performance Matters?

This week we continue our X-Ray Questions series, as we look at the question: Whose performance matters? You can read the other posts in this series by clicking here.

X-Ray Question:

(12) Whose performance matters?

On whose shoulders does the well-being of your world rest? Who can make it better, make it work, make it safe, make it successful? This digs out self-righteousness, or living through your children, or pinning hopes on getting the right kind of husband or wife, and so forth.

Understand

The only one who can truly make our world better is God. We cannot accomplish it on our own, even though we believe we can. Nor can anyone in our network – wife, husband, or children – make our lives better on their own. God’s performance is what matters, He is our Creator and our Sovereign Lord, who is holding everything together and working everything out in His plan.

Repent

We must repent by realizing God is the only one who causes anything to happen. He is the one who builds His church, places people in their careers, provides them with a home, family, and provisions. God alone is in control of our universe, and we must recognize this. Apart of doing so, is coming before God in prayer. By praying, we show we recognize that God is in control and that only His performance matters.

However, unless we first look to the gospel, we will not be able to relinquish control of our lives, and we will always either depend on ourselves or those around us because we will not recognize God for who He is, the all-knowing, all-powerful, holy, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, nor will we realize what He has done, namely, sending His Son to die in our place. Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection allows us the ability to commune with God. He paid the price for our sins, so that we may now experience a relationship with God.

When we realize all that God has done – Creator, Savior, and Sustainer – we realize it is only His performance that matters, not ours.

Scripture

Here are a few passages from God’s word to meditate on this week, as you consider the question: Whose performance matters?: Pss 49:13; Jer. 17:1-14; Phil. 1:6; 2:13; 3:3-11.

All X-Ray questions taken from David Powlison’s book Seeing with New Eyes.

Image: basketman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

X-Ray Questions: What or Whom do you trust?

This week we continue our X-Ray Questions series, as we look at the question: What or whom do you trust? You can read the other posts in this series by clicking here.

X-Ray Question:

(11) What or whom do you trust?

Trust is one of the major verbs relating you to God – or to false gods and lies. Crucial psalms breathe trust in our Father and Shepherd. Where instead do you place life-directing, life anchoring trust? In other people? In your abilities or achievements? In your church or theological tradition? In possessions? In diet, exercise, and medical care?

Understand

The person or object that we trust is the one we believe will provide us with happiness, joy, protection, deliverance, comfort, etc. Our trust should be in God and God alone because finite persons, inanimate objects, your abilities and achievements, or thoughts (I have in mind here theological traditions, or health ideas) will always fail you.

Repent

We must repent by realizing that God should be the one we must place our trust in, not in our own abilities or achievements, our traditions, other people, or objects. For when we decide to place our trust in anything other than God, we are trusting in something that will ultimately fail us and we are leaning on our own understanding. Solomon writes in Proverbs 3:5:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding

Solomon also tells us that the one who leans on his own understanding is a fool (Prov. 12:15)

In Psalm 103, David tells his readers of the benefits of the Lord: He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, crowns you with both lovingkindness and compassion, and He takes care of the oppressed by performing righteous deeds and judgments for them. Not only does God do all those things, David also says He “satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

The Lord’s benefits are greater than we could ever imagine and ever hope. Since He is the Holy, Unchangeable, and Sovereign Lord, what David wrote will never change. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. As a result, we can place our trust in Him knowing He will bring us joy, comfort, peace, deliverance, protection, etc. In short, He alone will fill the longings of our heart.

Scripture

Here are a few passages from God’s word to meditate on this week, as you consider the question: What or whom do you trust?: Prov. 3:5, 11, 18; 12:15; Pss 23, 103, 131.

All X-Ray questions taken from David Powlison’s book Seeing with New Eyes.