For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
True or false? The way you live your life is nobody’s business. So long as you please God, it doesn’t matter what others think.
If you answered, “True,” you’re wrong. We have an obligation to do right in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of man, which is the point of our focus text.
Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth coincided with a mission by his friends to collect funds for his ministry. The Apostle wanted his readers to know their gift would be handled rightly in the eyes of God and man.
Notice, too, that Paul said, “… we are taking pains to do what is right…” You and I know doing right for God is difficult. All the more so when we’re also under the microscope of public scrutiny.
So, why should we be concerned about what others think? Because we are Christ’s representatives on earth, His witnesses. Our behavior and character should bring honor and not discredit to His name.
“Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” Romans 12:17
Have you ever heard people say they refuse to go to church because the members are hypocrites? My response to that argument is to tell them that the church is like a hospital where sick people go to get well. We’re all sinners in need of God’s healing mercy and grace.
However, calling us hypocrites is a fair assessment. Even though unbelievers reject Christ and His teachings, they observe enough about Christianity to know many of us aren’t living by the Book.
Of course, we know the Christian community is watching and ready to judge our behavior. The gossipmongers overlook the Lord’s instruction on judging others and spread the word on our perceived indiscretions. Yeah. I know. Their reports are seldom reliable and their babbling is a major contributor to our image as hypocrites.
Paul makes an important distinction in this instruction in Galatians 1:10. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” We live to PLEASE God, not people. We live to honor God with our lives so people can see Christ in us. We don’t live to please people, just God, but with the realization that the world is watching. May they see something so attractive in us that they want what we have in Christ.
I’m sure you’ve seen those people who stand on the side of busy streets holding up advertising signs hoping to lure you into their businesses. I saw a fellow a few days ago, waving his arms frantically to get my attention. But there was nothing on his sign or in his cheerful greeting to make me want to take him up on his offer. I had already been to his restaurant and had a bad experience.
How many times have you been burned by an advertisement for a product that didn’t live up to your expectations?
Last spring, my wife and I made a purchase from a TV shopping channel for a device that promised to rid our backyard of all bugs. It didn’t. If anything, our bug problem was worse than ever. It was probably just my imagination, but I think I heard the Japanese Beetles laughing as they passed by on their way to devour our roses.
Is there enough of Christ showing in you to make others want what you have? Are you the real deal? Are you “taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man?”
For more on this topic, check out this article: With Christian Freedom Comes Responsibility
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.