Live for the Audience of One.
I remember the injunction clearly, and pondered what it meant for me, a teenager and new believer. I knew salvation was by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone. I understood my need, responded to His relentless pursuit, and experienced His saving power. I saw radical transformation, wildfire growth if you will. And I wanted to follow Christ with all my soul.
“I am no longer who I once was,” my heart rejoiced!
But many things about this thing called the “Christian Life” were still fuzzy. Audience of One?
“Well that must mean ‘to live for God’s approval alone.’ I suppose God is more pleased with me when I don’t do certain things, but do other things. If He’s the audience then I must perform, right?”
And so, I tumbled into the trap of performance. Do this. Don’t do this.
My failures crushed me. “Didn’t read my Bible every day this week. Epic fail. God must love me less.”
I may never have said the words aloud, but if I was honest, I thought they were true. I knew I’d been saved by grace, but I lived like I still had to earn it.
I’d love to tell my teenage self some things. I suppose I had to learn them over the passage of time, but if I could, I’d save her years of guilt ridden, faulty belief.
The Audience of One already approves.
Have you forgotten who He is?
As a father grins at his lisping child, stumbling through one line in the Kindergarten play, so does the Audience of One beam. Everyone else sees a gymnasium, but a father sees Carnegie Hall.
The father approves, not for the merit of the performance, but because he looks and says, “Mine.”
I’d say to my teenage self, “Christ justified you. By His blood you are declared innocent. He took your sin, and put it on Himself. Not only that, He gave you His righteousness.”
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
“But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us in the heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 2:4-7
Just as if I’ve never sinned.
Just as if I’ve always obeyed.
Negative infinity to zero.
Zero to positive infinity.
He approves. On my best days and worst days, God loves me just the same. He looks at me and sees His Son.
Therefore, to live for the Audience of One, isn’t performance.
It is worship, the delight that flows from all Jesus accomplished on my behalf.
The Audience rejoices, not on my merit, but because I belong to Him. My lines may be lisped, my song sung with cracking voice, but He looks and says, “Mine!”
Only one was an audience, the Audience of One. The smile of the King’s approval swept through the choir like fire across dry wheat fields. When the song was complete, the Audience of One stood and raised His great arms, then clapped His scarred hands together in thunderous applause shaking the ground and sky, jarring every corner of the cosmos. His applause went on and on unstopping and unstoppable.” -Randy Alcorn