“A saint is never consciously a saint – a saint is consciously dependent on God.”
– Oswald Chambers
I’m slowly recognizing that being too conscious of how God might use/be using me is something I should be wary of. More often than not, that shows that I am being enticed by fame or popularity, by the attention and approval of others. It is disguised with good – godly, even – intentions of doing God’s work, yet work that mentions Jesus but is not commissioned by Him is not, ultimately, what I want to invest in.
A few days ago, I wrote in my journal, “I don’t want my dream if it isn’t Yours.” And while I meant that as wholeheartedly as I could have in the moment, everything is more easily said than done. These short quips and tweetable statements are just the kind of things we like to grab on to these days. But are they just empty words? Do I really know what I’m saying? I pray they aren’t empty, and I pray I know what I’m saying. I’ve been realizing how easily enticed I am by the thought of popularity and being liked. It isn’t even fame per se – at least not on a huge, international scale. It’s just the thought that there are/might be people who like what I do, whether it’s music or writing or something else. I am too influenced by the crowd, and when I allow that to happen, I lose the ability to do what I do just because. Because it helps me be who I was meant to be.
I’ve been blessed with people who have, throughout most of my life, affirmed and encouraged my gift of music. Sometimes that has come in the form of statements like, “You should join Singapore idol!” or “You should cut an album. I’d totally buy it.” or “I’ll set up your fan club!!” And I thoroughly appreciate those sentiments. They have brought me much confidence and given me the encouragement I’ve needed to share and continue to share my music with others, which is ultimately what I love and want to do.
But I have also been caught up in those ideas of turning my music into something ‘more’ than what it is. It’s the temptation of doing something just because you can. It’s a business-like, consumerist mindset that I think is very prevalent in our world today, but one that is opposed to a mindset that places Jesus as King and Lord and Director over our lives. It’s looking at what you’ve got and saying, ‘hey, people have been telling me they’ve been encouraged by this. why not try to reach a wider audience so more can be encouraged?’  After publishing this, WordPress tells me,
AMPLIFY YOUR POST
Reach 1000s of new people on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more — for free using Headliner.fm.
Promote This Now.
It’s almost as though it’s ridiculous to think that people could be writing for any reason apart from wanting to “reach 1000s” of people. And maybe it is – but more on that later. [/edit]
Large audiences, fame, popularity, etc. are not bad in themselves. I’m well aware of that. God has placed each of us in positions of influence – some bigger than others. But the keyword there is “God” – God has placed. He is the one who positions us. It is not for us to decide who our audience or where our influence will be.
Look at Jesus – He was bringing the Gospel, something that is undeniably good for everyone. If His goal was to bring the Gospel to everyone, shouldn’t He have jumped at every opportunity to share it with people? But He routinely withdrew from the crowds. He walked away from what business-minded, PR people would say were perfect ministry opportunities. “Jesus! What are you doing? Do you know how many people you could reach if you spoke at this event? Do you know how many views you could get? How many likes? How many souls could be saved?” But Jesus knew that His ministry wasn’t about the numbers. Yes, His goal was to bring the Gospel to the masses. But that goal, as with all goals, was (and is) subservient to the goal of listening to and obeying His Father.
Sure, maybe it’s God’s will to work through me somehow to reach a wider audience. But I want to be 100% sure of that before I make any attempts to do so. If not, there’s a 99.9% chance that I am doing it for myself, rather than for Him, no matter what I may tell myself.
Anyway, these musings are probably more for myself than anyone reading, but that gets at another thing. Why blog? Why write here, for others to see? As with music, I’ve been told by people multiple times that they like my writing, that it has blessed and encouraged them, and etc. Praise God. I’ve been told, “You should write a book!” and “You should be a full-time blogger!” just as with the music thing. But again, to get infatuated with the idea of turning it into something more than it is is dangerous. But if I’m not writing to try and win readership or anything like that, why write here at all? That’s a question I’ve come back to time and time again, probably because I so easily lose focus and let my eyes drift to temptations of popularity. It’s something that always seems hard to justify – if it’s not a focused, intentional area of ministry, then it must be simply attention-seeking.
But I want to believe it can be something in between. I’ve written about it already here and here and here, but to add a little to them, I think maybe it’s enough to say that I’ve learned a lot form others who have shared their thoughts with me, even when unsolicited, and while I’m not trying to write about any one thing in particular and I’m certainly no expert on anything in life, writing here is just about availing myself. We find community in the most unlikely places. We find connections when we aren’t necessarily looking for any, and if there’s one thing the internet is good for, it’s connecting people. So on the off-chance that someone finds meaning or encouragement in my sometimes incoherent and often lengthy ramblings and attempts to untangle the mess in my brain, great. And if not, I need to untangle the mess anyway.
So, again, I pray that this little space of mine here on the world wide web will, ultimately, not be mine, but God’s. That He will work through it – or not – as He wills, and that I will be so emptied of myself that I will not even be aware of Him using me, nor will it matter to me that I do not know. My security comes not from evidence that He is using me to reach others, but from the blood, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on my behalf. I pray I will be so satisfied and secure in Christ – in the knowledge of His love and grace towards me – that I will not even need anymore evidence of His approval of me than what He has already said in His word. Perhaps that is what it means to have salvation by grace through faith alone. Being certain of that which I do not see – because the One who promises is faithful. The results are not mine to be concerned with – only that I work to put to death in me all that prevents me from complete and utter surrender to Jesus Christ my Lord and merciful Saviour.
I have a long, long way to go – yet by His grace, I will be held steady and remain standing until He returns to make me whole.