R.T. Kendall, author of more than 60 books, is releasing his latest book, For an Audience of One (Feb. 2020), which challenges readers to seek approval from God alone and not from people. He imparts the following practical steps:
— First, tell Him you want His opinion or approval.
—Second, ask Him to show you His opinion.
—Third, learn to disdain—eschew—the approval of people lest you forfeit God's approval. ... Yes, God may give you people's praise if you did not seek it. But how you handle it is of crucial importance. A person's character is revealed not only by how one handles criticism but also how one handles praise.
— Fourth, try your best to get in touch with your real motives. Ask, "Why am I saying this? Why am I doing this? Is it for people to notice? Am I doing this to impress people? To make them admire me? To make them jealous? Or is it for an audience of one? What if no one is impressed with your decision?"
Kendall uses the apostle Peter as an example. Peter was overcome with shame after he denied Jesus (Luke 22:54–62), but his sorrow was later used for good. "He not only learned his lesson, but it pretty much eradicated any self-righteousness in him. That is one of the reasons God could use Peter on the day of Pentecost," says Kendall.
The story of Peter resonates with Kendall. He recalls being about to preach at Westminster Chapel (where he formally ministered) and feeling wrought with guilt after having spoken crossly to his wife that morning. He prayed, "Lord, however can You use me today? I am so in the wrong, so utterly unqualified to be here and so ashamed. Please forgive me."
Kendall then preached with more power than he had known in a long time. He believes it was because he lacked any trace of self-righteousness. Similarly, Peter learned to live for an audience of one—after much humbling. His obedience paved the way for Jews to move past legalistic tradition and associate with Gentiles (Acts 10:28–29). He obeyed even when it made him unpopular among Jewish believers.
Standing firm in his conviction, Peter led the critics to a fuller understanding of God's goodness: "They glorified God, saying, 'Then God has granted to the Gentiles also repentance unto life'" (Acts 11:18b).
That is the power of living for God alone, and that is what Kendall desires to instill in his readers through his book For an Audience of One.
R.T. Kendall was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, England, for 25 years. Born in Ashland, Kentucky, he was educated at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Oxford University (D.Phil.). Dr. Kendall is the author of a number of books, including Total Forgiveness; Popular in Heaven, Famous in Hell; and his most recent, More of God.
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