The approval of man … how deliciously tempting for all of us ~ none exempt. Since we all want and need acceptance, the pit of man’s approval is the nearest and most enticing falter. Self-promotion, family pride, veneered appearances, seeing ourselves more highly than we ought, are tendrils that lure our affections.
Paul admitted to being tested thoroughly “to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message.” [I Thessalonians 2:1 Message] He convinced the church at Thessalonica that he and those who traveled with him were not seeking crowd approval ~ only God approval.
“Since we’ve been put through the battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas. We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you.” [2:4-5]
There’s only one applause worthy of our attention: that of our Lord’s. Though man may stand in large numbers and wave hands of honor, and clap uproariously for an act of service or achievement we’ve done, in the final analysis, it’s worth nothing if it doesn’t meet God’s ‘building material’ standards.
“Wood, hay, or stubble,” Jesus called it. “Remember, there’s only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection…the inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing…No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred–and you, remember, are the temple.” [I Corinthians 3:14-15 Message]