Every son of Adam, and perhaps especially those who follow the second Adam, knows the cycle of questions well. Do my friends at church think I’m godly? How many people liked my Facebook update this morning? How many of my Twitter followers view me as witty and intelligent from my ability to command 140 characters? Do my children think I’m the greatest parent ever? Do my co-workers admire me? Do most people like me?
I think all of us are very familiar with these kinds of questions. We're very concerned that we get the attention we think we deserve. Even those who have more of a "meek" personality can struggle with a kind of pride as they deflect attention "better than anyone else".
The Gospel gives us a new paradigm. We have all the attention we need. We are found Holy in Christ. We aren't the greatest parent ever, . . . . but we're forgiven and empowered by Christ. People may not like us, but that is not the most important problem we'll face today. Christ does delight in us, and that should inform how we process the rest of our day.
Paul, by the way, . . . was asking totally different questions, and concerned about different problems. Like Paul, what if we had a healthy fear that people would think too highly of us? What if we were vigilant that someone might not get an inflated view of a successful endeavor we pulled off? As Christians, what would it look like to boast in our weakness?
Here's a great article from Jeff Robinson that explores the gap between Paul's concerns and our concerns.