Who’s approval?

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10 ESV

Oh boy.

Confession: I have been a people-pleaser my whole life. I really have to work hard in keeping my focus straight, because my natural inclination is to work hard to win the approval of those around me.

God has been dealing with me in this for a long time. One reason this battle is so tough is because pleasing others isn’t always wrong, and so it’s sometimes hard to discern my own motives. Paul is not saying here that we are to actively seek to displease people. It really comes down to what we are seeking. If we are seeking God’s approval, God’s kingdom, and God’s glory and that happens to result in our actions blessing others, that’s fantastic.

But seeking the approval of others first and foremost is deadly, for many reasons. For example, it kills courage. People-pleasing is a form of cowardice, because it is based on the fear of rejection. I know that fear very well.

One reason Christ is so admirable, so excellent, is because he didn’t seek to please people. He went to the cross out of obedience to his Father and as a result of really displeasing the wrong people. My Lord, Jesus was brave.

May I become more like him. Lord, make me your servant, not the servant of my fear of what others think. Amen.

I don’t belong to the GOP anymore

Great response to Hewitt regarding the contention that not voting for Trump is like voting for Hillary. In this case Hewitt was referring to the loss of the Supreme Court if we allow Hillary to win.

If Trump is the GOP nominee, the GOP isn’t getting my vote.

Period. Full Stop.

Donald Trump, persecuted Christian

From this week’s excellent Goldberg File:

I was only half listening when Donald Trump came into the spin room on CNN to explain why he’s been audited every year for twelve years.

“I’m always audited by the IRS, which I think is very unfair — I don’t know, maybe because of religion, maybe because of something else, maybe because I’m doing this, although this is just recently,” Trump said in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo immediately following the 10th GOP debate on Thursday night.

Cuomo cut in: “What do you mean religion?”

“Well, maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it and maybe there’s a bias,” Trump said.

Cuomo cut in again: “You think you can get audited for being a strong Christian?”

“Well, you see what’s happened,” Trump said. “You have many religious groups that are complaining about that. They’ve been complaining about it for a long time.”

“Spit take” doesn’t even come close to describing my reaction. As it was, I gagged so hard my spleen almost came out my nose. It was nearly the first recorded instance of spontaneous self-mummification. I scared the cats because I reacted like members of Delta House when the picture of Flounder appeared on the screen.

There are two possibilities here. Either Donald Trump believes what he said, or he doesn’t. If he does believe this, he’s sufficiently delusional to disqualify himself for public office. If he doesn’t believe this, he thinks his conservative Christian supporters are morons.

I vote for option 2. And if he wins the nomination with the help of a significant percentage of “evangelical” votes, I’d say he’s right.

Good, good news!

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. – Galatians 1:6-9 ESV

Can you hear Paul’s urgency, his frustration, his sharp edges in this passage? It is rare for Paul to launch mortars this early in one of his letters, but he’s certainly lighting them off here. The reason is because turning to a different gospel is not just bad, it’s deadly.

The word “gospel” means “good news”. I remember when I first understood the good news as good news. This was quite a while after I had first heard it, because it took a while for me to understand how good this news really is, and I didn’t really get that until I understood how bad I am.

Good news! Jesus loves me. Good news! He died for me. Good news! He’s perfect, and obeyed and obeys God perfectly, so his death was a perfect sacrifice for me, paying the penalty that I simply could not pay.

Good news! He rose again from death and lives forevermore, interceding for me.

Good news! He is everything I’m not so I need to receive his gift and lordship, giving my meager everything to him in exchange for his infinite everything so that all he is can fill the howling vacuum of my emptiness apart from him.

Such good, good news this is!

Astonishing, isn’t it, if my eyes stray from this good news toward some other salvation-scheme that’s less Jesus and more me? Why would I do that? But how susceptible I am, as so many of us are, to replacing this good news with something else.

Oh my soul, focus on this good news, learn all of its music by heart, and sing it well for those who don’t know it, so that they can pick up the tune as written by the Lord of all good news.

For some I guess this is a feature, not a bug

Sounds like a threat, doesn’t it? Here’s a pleasant thought: giving the full might of the Executive branch, with all its IRS auditors, machine guns, NSA/FBI/CIA agents, the whole smash, to a guy who thinks like Trump. For me the prevailing theme of this current election season is not liberal vs. conservative. This election seems to be pitting those who would like a Strong Man to come in, trample our (his?) enemies and solve all our problems versus those who still desire government restraint, especially in the Executive branch.

The Strong Man side is winning.

As Neo writes:

Some people do indeed want to do just that—they long for it and would celebrate it—right up until the moment the crocodile eats them. The human desire for tyranny knows no bounds, left or right, and people delude themselves when they say it won’t or can’t happen, or that it will be okay if it’s used in the interests of their own pet causes.

And by the way, this isn’t some anomaly on Trump’s part; it’s a deep and abiding character trait and favorite weapon. This is the pattern of his entire adult life: threaten, threaten, threaten; insult, insult, insult; sue, sue, sue. Anything he can to hurt his enemies. He makes Nixon and Obama look like pikers.

Magnifico!

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody rockgrass cover by Hayseed Dixie.

Posted by Rockabilly Worldwide on Friday, February 19, 2016