I was recently visiting a town where I lived years ago when I drove past a church that had been there all these years. I remembered the church and was amazed as I looked at their new building. When I had lived in the town, the church was very small and wasn’t known for being a growing church. However, now, looking at this building, I was amazed. It was huge.
I was thinking to myself how something must have happened there to cause that church to really come alive in order to have that kind of growth. I slowed down as I drove past, and looked backward at the building. What I saw shocked me. I felt conflicting feelings that seemed both funny and sad to me at the same time.
The front of the building was a facade that had been added to the tiny building that had always been there. It was like they had built a long, high wall at the front of their church building that made it look like the building itself was awesome. But, in reality, it was the same tiny brick building that had always been there.
They wanted to give the illusion of growth, even though none had occurred. As I drove on, I thought about that church and began to realize how I have done the same thing many times in my own life. There have been countless times since I’ve been in ministry that I wanted to make things seem bigger than they really were. In fact, there have been times I even gave the illusion of growth in my personal life when it wasn’t true.
Why do we do things like that? It’s because we want the approval of men. The bottom line is that sometimes we feel like we need validation from other people. Without it, we question our true value. We wonder if we are as much as we should be. We want to look like we are somebody important. We relate to others with the unspoken question, “Do you think I’m really worth something?”
To the extent that we seek the praise of other people, we aren’t resting in the truth of our identity in Christ. I like the way the King James Version translates what Paul says about it – “We have been accepted in the Beloved.” In Jesus Christ, we are somebody special.
It doesn’t matter how well we perform or how we look to others. God adores us just like we are. We don’t have to appear flashy, highly successful or look like we are really moving forward with leaps and bounds. We can take down the facade and just be ourselves. After all, if God gives you the “thumbs up,” what else really matters?
To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6, King James Version