For the past year I have been personally meeting one-on-one with a man who has a reputation in the Christian community as a “SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN BUSINESSMAN.”
I can remember on many occasions leaving our times together feeling God was wonderfully changing our lives, only to learn recently from outside sources that his marriage is in crisis, and his business practices are notoriously unethical and exploitive of others.
I have also become aware that sincere Christian friends have attempted to approach him over these issues only to be rebuffed by acrimonious, self-justification.
Yet in certain Christian circles this “SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN BUSINESSMAN” is known to be generous with his time and resources for the cause of Christ.
What is going on here? Why the contradictions?
The issue is “IMAGE”: Here is a man who desperately wants to be viewed around town as a “SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN BUSINESSMAN”. Therefore:
Maintaining a certain public image is more important than any serious quest for holiness.
By his actions, it has become obvious that he loves the “praise of man more than the praise of God.” (John 12:43)
In retrospect, what was lacking in our times together was:
- BROKENNESS over sin: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart… ” (Psalm 51:17)
- TRANSPARENCY over failings: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed… ” (James 5:16a)
- The SURRENDER of the mind and will to the Lordship of Christ and His Word: “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ… Listen to the word, and… do what it says.” (2 Corinthians 10:5; James 1:22)
The fact is that God despises our efforts to impress others in order to garner their approval, since “that which is highly valued among men is detestable in God‘s sight.” (Luke 16:15b)
So, what motivates you: The pursuit of holiness or maintaining your public image?