I’ve always heard the phrase ‘audience of one’ used in terms of music and God, and it’s used to mean that when we’re worshipping in a crowd or ministering from the stage, we should do it solely for God’s pleasure. Generally, when used in Christian circles, it refers to our preaching, teaching, singing, dancing, praying,….some activity we tag as being ‘spiritual’. I agree 100% but may I challenge us to take it deeper than that? What if we live our everyday lives conscious of pleasing that same ‘audience of One’?
I found the perfect explanation of what ‘audience of one’ means in the online urban dictionary:
focusing our performance–what we do, say, think… or not, so as to be acceptable to one person, individual or deity
To my utmost surprise, this statement was added after the definition above:
“Early Christians like the Apostle Paul who would rather face death than compromise their core faith beliefs, lived their lives for an audience of one.”
That sounds very practical to me because where are our ‘core faith beliefs’ challenged more than outside the walls of the sanctuaries we call ‘church’. We have made the grave error of creating a dividing line between what is ‘spiritual’ and what is ‘secular’, for instance, we think working or serving in our local assembly is ‘spiritual’ but working or serving in our day-to-day job is ‘secular’. Yet God is watching us all the time – every day of the week, every second of the day – and we were created for His pleasure so shouldn’t we be pleasing Him at all times…..or at least relying on His grace to help us do so?
What does this mean in practical terms?
This is by no means exhaustive but just to get the ball rolling –
• At your job, perform excellently even when you don’t get praised or rewarded for it.
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:22-24, NCV)
• Make choices and do things that will please God whether or not there are people watching you.
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, KJV)
• Constantly check your motives for doing the things you do, even for seemingly ‘pious’ things like service in your local assembly.
“The day will surely come when at God’s command Jesus Christ will judge the secret lives of everyone, their inmost thoughts and motives; this is all part of God’s great plan, which I proclaim.”(Romans 2:16, TLB)
• Relate to people with sincerity and truth (which works by love), not modifying who you are to please them in order to gain something temporal from them, whether material or praise.
“When we speak, we are not trying to please people, but God, who tests our hearts. You know that we never tried to influence you by saying nice things about you. We were not trying to get your money; we had no selfishness to hide from you. God knows that this is true. We were not looking for human praise, from you or anyone else,” (1 Thessalonians 2:4b-6, NCV)
• Be respectful of authorities and obedient to the laws of the land insofar as they don’t contravene God’s laws. For instance, obey traffic lights whether there are traffic wardens present or not; don’t drive against traffic; pay your correct taxes.
“Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.” (1 Peter 2:13-17, MSG)
Just in case we are still in doubt as to what is acceptable worship to God and think God is only interested in our activities in our local assemblies or what we term ‘spiritual’ exercises like speaking in tongues, praying, fasting, preaching, teaching, singing, etc., let me quote the one God described as being a man after His heart, David:
“O Lord, who may lodge [as a guest] in Your tent?
Who may dwell [continually] on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity and strength of character, and works righteousness,
And speaks and holds truth in his heart.
He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
In his eyes an evil person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord[and obediently worship Him with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder].
He keeps his word even to his own disadvantage and does not change it [for his own benefit];
He does not put out his money at interest [to a fellow Israelite],
And does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.”
(Psalm 15, AMP)
Let us live our lives day by day for the praise and pleasure of One – GOD.