An audience is not an anointing. Some of the most anointed lives are lived in isolation and suffering. Celebrity and notoriety come and go at the whim of a consumer culture both within society and the Church. Do not chase the affirmation of people thinking an affirming audience is the best evidence of the quality of your faith. Pursue God alone and take the next step of faith He places before you no matter where it leads or what it costs. This is your only safe place. That kind of radical obedience can, at times, send you in the opposite direction from where the term “success” finds its popular definition.
When I recently read Hebrews 11, described as The Hall of Faith, I was taken by the journeys made by some of our spiritual ancestors. Each time I read that chapter I am challenged to evaluate the quality and depth of my faith. We can allow our fears and our pride to create buffers that keep us away from the very people and places where our life-calling was meant to experience a deeper expression of faith. How we choose to live in these challenging places will create the testimony we leave behind for future generations.
There are times when the greatest testimonies of faith take place without an affirming audience. These isolated places only have the presence of Jesus as their affirmation and consolation. I want that to be enough for me and for you. In that place, a sweet purity surrounds us and give us something an adoring audience could never provide.
“Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground”(Hebrews 11:37-38).