In high school, I use to care so much about what people thought of me that I use to be nervous to walk across the cafeteria because I didn't want people to critique me.
- Do they like me?
- How does my outfit look?
- Was my joke funny?
On and on thoughts played in my head like a dripping faucet that wouldn't allow me any peace. I can relate to Saul's actions in 1 Samuel 15, unfortunately. But thankfully, I can also "not relate" to him because God has helped me over the years to care less about what others think and more about what He thinks.
In this chapter, God orders Saul to battle and defeat the Amalekites. And not just defeat them but annihilate them. At the core of this God wants to remove any trace of the wicked nation. However, "Saul and the army" spare the life of the king and keep the best livestock. The next day Samuel goes to find Saul, who ironically is building an altar to the Lord. Saul thinks he has done well by God. He thinks he has been obedient. However, Samuel confronts him on his obvious disobedience, having failed to do what God instructed. This alone leads to a powerful truth: partial obedience is still disobedience. Saul did not fully carry through on God's command and, therefore, is deemed disobedient.
Now here's where the insecurity plays in: "I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them."
Saul's disobedience can be traced to his desire to please men above God. It provides a powerful example of what the desire for men's approval can lead to. In this passage, we see that caring about what people think, particularly above what God thinks, does lead to sin.
How does one avoid such a trap? Fight the urge to care! It seems so simple, and yet it’s hard to live out, isn’t it?
You have been given a moral compass and as a Christian, you are blessed to have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. Chances are you're pretty set to know when something is wrong or right. When you feel something is wrong, don't do it! Even if people are directing you to the wrong thing. Fight the urge to care about what people think and find security in your Heavenly Father. What He thinks and desires is what really matters.