June 29, 2023 – 1 Corinthians 4
Verses 3 and 4 in this chapter have a goldmine of wisdom with the potential to see us free…
“As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Perhaps you are like Paul and it matters very little how your friends, authority figures, or you evaluate yourself. But if you are more like me, you do care! Even when you know that God’s opinion matters most, the looming opinions of others are still mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting.
This is so challenging to overcome because social acceptance is a key part of community and safety, but not every community is as accepting as the one before. What’s more, sometimes the judgments of others, and authorities, and ourselves are aligned with God’s judgment, other times it is not.
But Paul gives us the key: Don’t trust anyone’s assessment of you. If they say you are great, assume they would nuance their evaluation a bit if they knew the whole story. If they say you are the worst, assume they would nuance their evaluation a bit if they knew the whole story. If you start to think you are the worst, assume that your failures and setbacks are simply setups for God’s Kingdom to come and his power to work through our weakness.
One day, you will stand before God, face to face. He will know all of your circumstances, all of your sins, all of your good works. And the only opinion that will matter then, or create acceptance, safety, and success is God’s. His evaluation of you will start with the cross, which says you are indeed broken and sinful. But it also says God has evaluated you with such unearned love that it was his choice to send his son Jesus to suffer for your sin, death, and evil to save you, redeem you, and spend eternity with you. On that day, it will be easy to feel that God’s opinion is the one that matters most. You won’t be thinking about what your boss says, or what your dad thinks, or about that group that seems to always exclude you.
When those opinions are about you, we can bring the judgments we receive from others and ourselves to the one true Judge. He is the only one who can decide how you did and what you’re worth. This practice will free you to pursue the purpose God made you for, despite any natural criticism that may come to anyone who does anything significant in life.
Questions for reflection:
- Whose opinion about you, other than God’s, do you find yourself thinking about most? Why does that opinion matter to you?
- Take a moment to prayerfully ask God what his opinion of you is. Listen until you sense God’s love… because he loves you!