“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
From the moment I saw the email, I knew it was that time of the year again.
Whenever our office ended its busy season, my boss would suggest a celebratory after-work soiree. Normally, I would use my single mom with a long commute card as a way out of attending the dinner, but I knew I couldn’t put it off again.
I reluctantly confirmed my attendance and secretly wished something would come up to force the cancelation of the event.
But as the days drew closer, I knew the likelihood of my prayer being answered was slim to none.
Most of my co-workers shared my sentiment about the event.
We knew the dining experience would be the top of the line service we’d all grown accustomed to. It was the forced conversations and awkward moments of silence that had us all hoping we could make it through the night as quickly as possible.
Everyone strategically picked seats for the night as the attendants began filling our glass with the choice of either white or red wine.
For my co-workers this was probably the easiest decision they’d made all day. For me however, it was a choice that would once again put me in the spotlight.
The old me would never think twice about having a drink.
Whenever I went out, I always had my favorite drink in hand to help me enjoy the night.
But as my walk with God became more serious and sincere, I lost the desire to do many of things that were once natural, including the desire to consume alcohol.
Still, there were moments when I wavered about my conviction.
I would see other Christians drinking at work-related functions and think maybe I was being too rigid in my beliefs. Sometimes, I would have a glass (or two) to avoid being in the spotlight as the only non-drinker in the room.
In time, I’ve come to understand that not everyone, including fellow believers, will share or agree with all of your convictions.
At times, you may find yourself standing alone in your faith.
For me it was the decision to not drink. For you it might be something else.
What matters most is that in every choice you make, you are seeking to please God and not win the approval of human beings.
That night, I happily raised my glass of water for every toast knowing what mattered most was not the opinions of my co-workers but staying true to my character as a child of God.
Surprisingly, the dinner turned out a lot better than most of our previous after-work get togethers.
And as I laid in bed that night, I reflected with pride, knowing that I was able to enjoy my night without compromising who I am.
Someday, you too may find yourself in the spotlight because of your beliefs.
When your moment comes, I pray that you will find the strength to stay true to your convictions, even if it means being the only one in the room.
Ephesians 6:13 (NIV), “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT), “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
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How do you handle being in the spotlight because of your convictions?