BY DR. DEBBIE LANIER
Maybe it’s my age. Perhaps it’s this ever-increasing pursuit to live like I belong to Jesus. Maybe it’s a little of both. I’m not sure. All I know is “bold” landed on me, and it won’t let go.
I spent entirely too many years living overly concerned with what others think. The truth is, I lived captive to what I perceived others think. (Chances are, they were not thinking about me at all. What a prison!)
Our need for approval becomes self-imposed slavery! You know that, right?
As I read Bartimaeus’ story (Luke 18:35-43) this morning, I thought, “THAT’S the intensity of boldness I want to own!”
Blind Bartimaeus begged as Jesus passed. The crowds chasing the Messiah clamored too raucously to hear the pleas. Bartimaeus then escalated, shouting, “Son of David!” The multitudes reprimanded the beggar. They demanded his silence, so he would remain invisible. After all, that’s precisely how they perceived him.
Bartimaeus refused to back down even a smidgen. If anything, their condemnation fueled him. The brazen beggar screamed even louder, “Son of David!”
In Jewish culture, that title meant much more than lineage. It revealed Authority…Supremacy. His declaration of Jesus revealed his great faith, in contrast to the crowds who fumbled in the dark to His reality! Did you get that? Blind Bartimaeus could see beyond what blinded the religious experts. He discerned Christ’s truest identity.
Jesus abruptly halted, giving fullest attention to this daring dude. Bartimaeus stammered to the Messiah and bypassed every naysayer surrounding him.
Just one encounter with the Son of God unlocked everything. This fearless spectacle recovered his sight and his soul. Of course, then the masses erupted in Praise. (Crowds are so fickle!)
If their criticism had paralyzed Bartimaeus, nothing would have changed that day. If this beggar had buckled beneath the weight of disapproval, this most life-altering moment would have belonged to someone else, never to him.
How often does opposition shatter our resolve? How many times does disapproval obstruct our ability to see beyond it?
The pathway to success inevitably leads to those moments where we appear incredibly foolish to others. If we don’t break our approval addiction, we remain on the side of the road, invisible to most, still murmuring about our condition.
Did you know that you are usually most celebrated when you become what others want you to be? If you are addicted to approval, you will certainly take the bait. But their expectations of you will inevitably shift with their own whims and issues. Maintaining their celebration of you becomes a treadmill. It’s all downhill from there. You’re trapped! (Self-imposed slavery, remember?)
Learn from my missteps. If you become who God wants you to be, you assuredly become who others need you to be. That’s your sweet spot! Desiring to please the One who loves you most and seeks your highest good . . . it quiets the noise and sets every facet of your life to such a harmonious rhythm.
Face it. Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s okay! It’s not their journey. It’s YOURS!
Don’t let applause or criticism knock you out of the race. Simply stay the course with your eyes fixed on the One who goes before you and makes your way clear. When you do, you will discover “bold” landed on you and it won’t let go!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at PastorDebbie@HopeCommunityChurch.tv