Last night, I turned on the TV to catch a few minutes of the Academy Awards. When I tuned in, the camera was focused on Ben Stiller, elaborately dressed as a blue alien from Avatar. (Whoa! Wasn’t expecting that!) As I watched the next few awards, I enjoyed scanning the crowd and seeing all the stunning gowns. (Did anyone else notice that this year most of the dresses were actually modest?)
Seeing the celebrities gush over their Oscar statues reminded me of Pastor’s Brett’s sermon last week. He’s been preaching through the book of 2 Timothy, and last week’s message was “Live Balanced,” drawn from 2 Timothy 1:15–18, where Paul says that while many believers turned away from him, one was a loyal friend.
Using a stability ball as a visual aid, Brett demonstrated the importance of strengthening your core by centering on Christ, rather than tilting toward the opinions of others—regardless of whether those people are criticizing and betraying you, or praising and blessing you. Either way, when you focus on the opinions of others, you lose your balance!
The acceptance speeches last night—reminiscent of Sally Field’s infamous (but slightly misquoted) line: “You like me! You really like me!”—made me realize how often we, too, earnestly seek the approval of others, clutching their praise like a treasured golden statue.
Yet when we take our eyes off Christ and look to others for their approval, we lose our balance. And if we’re not careful, we’ll end up like Humpty Dumpty, poised for a great fall.
But here’s the great news—when we stay centered on Christ instead of tipping toward the opinions of people, we will receive a heavenly award! It’s not a golden statue, but an eternal prize, one worth getting excited about.
As he closes his second letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of this heavenly award:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7–8; emphasis added)
Someday, when we, too, have fought the good fight and remained faithful, we will be in the presence of our Lord, the righteous Judge. We will cast off this perishable body and put on the imperishable, be clothed in dazzling white robes, and hear the words we’ve been longing for: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
And on that day, the award will go to . . . YOU! Because, after all, He likes you! He really likes you!