Monday, April 10, 2006

David Elkin asks, "How do you know if you are doing well?"

A special thanks to Dr. David Elkin again for his message to our men at the Men of the Covenant Luncheon last Thursday.

Below is a brief outline of his message:

How do you know if you are doing well?

How do you gauge yourself?


I rely on the approval of layers of people:
My chairman
My colleagues
My wife
Hate to say it, but not really, my kids
My friends

There are many voices out there telling you things; to whom are you listening?

A Christian man seeks approval from God, not man

I almost said that a Christian man serves God, not man, but that seems pretty well obvious to most of us, I think.

It’s harder to think of where we get our approval from. It’s easy to say we serve God, not Man; but it’s harder to say we seek the approval of God, not Man.

It’s a subtle difference, one of directionality, if you will. To serve is outward-focused; seeking approval can be the reverse direction.

Because by nature, if you are a leader, you will be getting feedback from man. And the desire you might have is to gauge your behavior on that feedback.

It’s hard to rely solely on approval from God.
Walking through the halls of work, school, church, do you look for people (women) to notice you?

More importantly, if you serve God, you will almost certainly not get the approval of Man. Not always, mind you. But almost certainly.

Look to examples from Scripture:

David, in the Psalms. Crying out to God to get the vengeance on those who slander and pursue him.

Paul: for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Ultimately, Christ. “My meat is to do the will of my Father.” Also, you want to hear from Him “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

A true Christian leader is smart enough to listen to other Christians whom he trusts to give him good counsel. Moreover, he is smart enough to seek out that kind of support.

If you seek approval from man, in the fundamental sense, as opposed to man as used of God, then you will live in fear.

Indulge me a bit, as I have been playing recently with this whole concept of Fear of God and fear in man.

But chasing after approval from man will lead to fear; looking for approval from God leads to contentment.

Even in the light and reality of indwelling sin. Meaning, we can find contentment despite the fact that we are still sinners who are redeemed of the Lord.

But . . . those who seek approval from men are doomed to the life off the addict: they are always searching, never coming to rest in the truth. They are always looking for that next “hit” of approval. If who you are is dependent on what others say about you, then you must by necessity be dependent on them. And that is completely the opposite for the Christian. We are dependent on God alone. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Worse, if you look for approval internally, you will fall. Internal will condemn you. If you gauge how you are doing in this life based on how you feel or based on internal expectations and perceptions, then you are trapped. Because what is inside will fail you.

Example: Athletes who talk about “digging deep, finding the strength to carry on, etc.

Example: Two ways to assess performance: others and self.

For the Christian, there is a third way, a via media. We look outside ourselves, and we look past others. We look to God. Only He provides the true standard for what we should be doing, how we are “measuring up.”

And the glorious thing is this: He demands perfection, and then He accepts us in Christ.

Stop looking for approval from any source other than God. He alone can provide you with ultimate approval.

How do you know if you are doing well?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He and I know how I am.