Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Audience of One

Roy spoke Sunday about community. He said that community a sense of belonging and that it's crucial that we first make sure we're living before God, our Audience of One. If we don't belong to Him first and foremost, our relationships become strained because we'll never be completely satisfied with the community we have. We'll always seek to gain maximum approval from others. And we'll always seek to find the "perfect" community in which there are no problems because everyone is all about us. He even cited Adam and Eve's perfect community and how they weren't ultimately satisfied with it. They wanted to be God. And in a sense, we act the same way we don't allow ourselves to live solely before and belong to the Audience of One.

Tim Challies also recently blogged about this idea here. He mentions it regarding leadership and takes a look at Os Guinness's book, The Call. He points out really interesting stories of celebrities who go to extreme measures to make sure they are praised by others. He says this of the book:
"In The Call, Guinness discusses narcissism in the context of audience. Christians are to be motivated to serve and to please an audience of One. We are to called to seek the pleasure of God."
I appreciate Roy and Tim discussing this idea. For me, this concept of living before an Audience of One has been my chief aim over the last five years. Back in 2003, in the midst of struggling with anxiety that was rooted in self-absorption, God revealed to me in various ways how the key to freedom was living before Him alone. I think there were two key books that I read that year that helped me start moving towards this kind of freedom. The first was In the Shadow of the Almighty which is mainly journals and letters penned by Jim Elliot. In the book, he has a chapter entitled "AUG" or Approved Unto God. To see him focus his efforts there, as a student at Wheaton, was a powerful thing for me to see.

The second book is Humility by Andrew Murray. In it, I began to discover the true freedom of getting outside of myself and being caught up with who I was in Christ. The quote that has had the MOST profound impact on me outside the Bible comes from this book. It says:
"It is indeed blessed-the deep happiness of heaven-to be so free from self that whatver is said about us or done to us is lost and swallowed up in the thought that Jesus is all.""
That is what I seek.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the message. I read Murray's "Humility" this past summer and it opened my eyes to how self-centered I actually am (though I am sure that I do not see it all). I praise God for what He has done and is doing in you. When I read this, I thought of this verse (words of Jesus): "I do not accept praise from men" (John 5:41).

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  2. I have seen tons of growth from 10/06.....been great to watch.

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  3. MMmm... After reading this post... I got on Amazon and ordered "Humility"! I can't wait to read!

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  4. Clay and Roy
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Whitney
    I'm very happy that you're getting that book.

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