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Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Yes Man Addiction

Have your own desires ever been self-destructive? Any addictive behaviors, substances or relationships? How did you treat those who tried to help you? What saved you from completely destroying yourself with these “hand-made idols”? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1256).

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
(Joshua 24:15 NIV).

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10).

Those who trust in God are “meek and humble.” Jesus modeled meekness and humility, not by submitting to authority or domination of others, but through his humble service to God. Meekness doesn’t mean we let everybody beat on us or that we don’t struggle for success in achieving important goals. It means that we should have the courage to look within ourselves and ask, “How have I measured up to the standards of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? How does my life look from his perspective? What is the degree of my success? Christ certainly was rebuffed by many people, but he reached out to the most unsavory of all the people he could possibly find in the Holy Land – the worst ones. Quite often the people we considered the most antagonistic or the most rejected might be the ones who are most uncertain and hungry for an element of Christian love. The simple things prove to be a learning process for us as Christians. We should emulate Christ by embracing courage and strength, but with an absence of pride. (NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter, page 1082)

Unquestionably the greatest temptation – the greatest idol – in my life has been the desire (even the lust) for people to love and like me. Many times I have striven to perform the role of reconciler out of a desire to be liked by people on both sides of an issue rather than out of some vaulted desire for peace. The simple unadulterated truth of the matter is that conflict is an inherent aspect of life and cannot be avoided in any case (whether one grovels as a spineless wonder or not). We may look askance at Paul’s declaration that he does not seek to please people....but Christ. But really as human beings we are way out there in the blue where the counsel of our conscience requires obedience even in the absence of definitive proof, consensus, or endorsement by popular vote. Thus as Jimmy Carter counsels we need to embrace courage and strength, but with an absence of pride. Or as Martin Luther said in effect if not verbatim: "Here I stand. I can do no other". Sometime or other in some way or other, we must be honest with ourselves and others in stating and living flat-out what we truly believe. It would be a major tragedy to live out our lives and go to the grave in craven cowardice.

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