If you are going to live faithfully and effectively for God as a believer, you must make sure that you are playing to the right audience. So, the question to ask yourself is, “Who are you looking to for your praise and acceptance?”
Often Christian leaders have difficulties making hard choices and harder decisions because they are playing to the wrong audience. They’re playing to the people who pay them instead of to the God who made them. And, almost as bad, they are playing to insiders rather than outsiders.
To please God who made you and to lead a church effectively so that it is winning the lost and doing what Jesus came to do – “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) – you must be about your Father’s business as He is the one who called you to be a believer and a leader and it is His Church. Often the Father’s business and the demands of the people are not the same.
Leader or believer you must still be aware that you are most effective and efficient as a follower of Jesus when you are playing to an audience of One – God Himself. The praises of men are nice but they never last and often turn on you as they did on Jesus. During His entry into Jerusalem the weekend He was crucified they shouted praises to God for Him as He rode in on a colt. Shortly afterwards the same crowd of people were shouting “crucify Him, crucify Him.” The praises of men and even those you help in some wonderful way will fade. Learn early in your walk as a believer and a leader that you are to play to an audience of One.
I believe this is one of the major “issues” in the life of the Church today. We are trying to please man and by doing so are not pleasing God. I believe this is true in almost all aspects of the life of the Church. We preach to meet a need – instead of preaching to please God. We worship in a certain, acceptable way geared to those who attend and those we are trying to attract. We behave in a certain way that is acceptable behavior in that particular group so that we please man – when God may be asking us to be and do something different and maybe even a little out of the ordinary. The way we dress, the way we speak, the things that we do – almost always done so we can fit in to the group that we are relating to – which means we are playing to the wrong audience.
I believe this is also the issue when it comes to witnessing to others – we are not playing to an audience of One. We are concerned with what others will think; we are fearful of rejection; we don’t want to turn people “off”. In other words – we fear man and not God. We are playing to the wrong audience.
In my life, over the past ten years, I have been working very diligently and on a daily basis to be more aware of why I do what I do the way I do it. What motives this behavior or that response? What causes me to back down in a stuation ripe for witnessing? Why I do certain things and don’t do other things? Major and minor items have all come under examination. And, I have had to make numerous changes – internal ones first (thoughts, feelings, expectations) but they have always resulted in outward changes in behavior, relationships, ministry, and actions. I really do want to be “playing to an audience of One” and not doing things simply because I have always done them, done them that way, or because of people’s expectations.
It has not been easy at times – but it has always been a challenge and I believe it has been very worthwhile and seriously beneficial to my walk with the Lord and the ministry He has called and empowered me to carry out on His behalf.