Most Christians understand that God must be their director, that they should seek to please God, and that Christian discipleship entails living under Jesus’s lordship. We get that. The problem comes, however, when we fail to make him our audience. And so the frustrated, guilt-ridden man complains, “All my efforts to reason with my coworker haven’t worked. I’ve failed.” The depressed woman utters in despair, “I’ve tried hard to love my angry spouse, but it hasn’t worked. He’s still planning to file for divorce.” Both of these people are living for Jesus as their director, but not as their audience. Their frustration, despair, and discontentment come because their audience—other people—are not pleased with their performance. As our director, the Lord alone can dictate our behavior and call the shots. But that’s not enough. He must also be our audience—the only one we seek to please, the one whose acceptance we most cherish, the one whose “well done, good and faithful servant” affirmation most satisfies, the one we play to supremely, and the only one whose smile or frown finally matters.
Robert D. Jones
If our goal is reconciliation, we have an unbearable burden. If our goal is pleasing God, reconciliation may be a beautiful benefit.