The phrase, “But what will people think,” has frozen more than a few saints on their pilgrim’s pathway. The truth be told, we cannot live our lives based on what others may or may not suppose. To do so is akin to living inside the brain of someone not yourself. Assuming we are operating in God’s will, we should regard what other people think or say as none of our business.
Timothy Was a Wino
There could not be anything further from the truth. However, Timothy mistakenly believed that when Paul told him (in 1 Timothy 5:23) to, ‘use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities,’ it might be seen as a violation of the church doctrine Paul previously established when he said (in 1 Timothy 3:3) that elders in the church, ‘must not be given to much wine.’
Paul in the following verses essentially tells his young protégé to not worry about his reputation or what others might say; God knows their hearts. He effectively reminds Timmy that these folks have their own agendas, which typically revolve around getting the spotlight off of their sin and onto other people. He would remind us that our attempts to maintain our reputations are in reality acts of pride and therefore sinful.
Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden. 1 Timothy 5:24-25
What’s a Saint to Do?
As Paul said to Timothy, “Take your medicine,” (paraphrase mine).
And in regard to our social status, we have Christ Jesus as our example, who…
“Being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:6-7
The wonderful irony is that Jesus, in making Himself of no reputation ends up with a reputation that is perfect and divinely faultless. By giving it all He has gained it all; and therein stands our model. The reality is that when we’re behaving ourselves (in the best spiritual sense), our reputations will take care of themselves.
A Starting Point
Tom Landry, the late coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was once quoted by Charles Swindoll in the ‘Insights for Living‘ newsletter. Coach Landry said:
My job is to get men to do what they don’t want to do in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to achieve.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m all about taking the easiest route possible (and that’s not something I say flippantly). It was Jesus who first said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light — I’m going to take Him at His word. It stands to reason that His commandments are simple to follow and the loads He asks us to bare are carryable. It’s here that many tend to say, “I don’t think it’s easy.”
I don’t think it’s easy
What I have discovered is that when I think like that, my struggle is not with what Jesus has instructed, but with how His instruction will change me. When I fear change I automatically perceive that not being an easy thing. Once you understand that, it gets easier. Here we’re instructed to not worry about what others think and abandon our pride. It’s not as hard as you have been misled to believe.
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud. Proverbs 16:18-19
- What do these verses say about God?
- What do they say about you?
- What’s your easiest recourse?