For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done” (2 Samuel 24:10).
Looking for praise from people is impure. The desire to be respected or admired by men is ungodly. The problem with lusting after worldly symbols of success (i.e., wealth, power, fame, and beauty) is idolatry. Seeking worldly success causes us to stop worshiping God and instead we worship and obey whatever will cause other people to envy our worldly success. This is the worship of idols.
David made the mistake of idolatry when he insisted that a census be taken to count the number of fighting men in Israel. The problem with this is that the census meant that David was putting his trust in human strength. He had forgotten what he shouted that day when he killed Goliath: “The battle is the Lord’s.” In the story of Gideon, God used just 300 men to rout a huge enemy army. Jesus chose 12 uneducated men to be His disciples. He praised the Father that He chose to reveal Himself to the little ones. The problem with people who have it all together is that they trust in their human strength rather than on God’s. When I look at myself in the mirror to admire how I look, I put my trust in my appearance. Either I despair that I don’t look good enough to be admired by others or I smugly delight in my good looks because people will admire me. Either way, I sin by not putting my hopes in God. When I look at my bank account or possessions, if I despair because I have so little or take pride in the wealth I have, then I sin because I place my value in money rather than in God. What I need to do is repent of my idolatry and ask God to help me not to trust in worldly things.
Lord Jesus, I repent of my idolatry. Please forgive me! I’m sorry for lusting so much after wealth, power, fame and beauty. I repent! I don’t want to sin any longer by going after such things. I often feel though that I don’t know how to get rid of such longings. Please use Your power in my life to free me from the hooks of these fleshly strongholds. By the power of Your blood and Your love, set me free! May You truly be all that I need. May I only seek to please You, not men, nor myself. May I truly become a worshipful servant with my eyes always fixed upon You! Should You choose to bless me, let the blessing never distract me from worshiping You with all my might. Let me worship before You and not care whether I appear dignified or not. May You be my vision. Let there be no idols before You. Help me, Lord God, to worship You with ALL my heart.