‘No One Can Change God’s Opinion About You Except You’

When God is for you, others' opinions cease to matter as deeply.

By Michael Brown Published on April 18, 2024

Leonard Ravenhill (1907–1994) was a British preacher and author most famous for his classic book Why Revival Tarries. It was my great privilege to become a close friend of his the last five years of his life — although it was quite daunting as well, given the 48 years that separated us.

I never knew a man who prayed the way he prayed — with such depth and passion and focus, with such articulate words, with such brokenness. He embodied the prayer often prayed by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), early America’s foremost theologian and philosopher: “Stamp eternity on my eyes.”

Ravenhill (or “Brother Len,” as I called him) lived in the light of eternity, with his own life encapsulated in perhaps his most famous quote, “Are the things you’re living for worth Christ dying for?”

Among his other pithy and penetrating quotes was this, which came to mind today while counseling a friend: “No one can change God’s opinion about you except you.”

How liberating this is!

If God Is For You …

To be sure, as human beings, we thrive on acceptance, on being part of a family, group, movement, or cause.

Rejection stings. Misunderstandings are painful. And when someone lies about us or misjudges us, we want to set the record straight. That is human nature.

But in the end, as much as we want people to like us, as much as we want to defend ourselves against false charges (and there are times when it is right to stand up and set the record straight), what matters most is how God feels about us. Everything else pales in comparison.

Put another way, it is better for you to have every human being on the planet against you and God for you than to have every human being for you and God against you.

It is better for every human being to think evil of you and God to think well of you than for every human being to think well of you and God to think evil of you.

An Audience of One

Living with the perspective that what ultimately matters is God’s opinion about you is comforting, liberating, and assuring – that is, if you are in right relationship with God and your conscience is clear. Otherwise, it could be terrifying.

Who cares if people praise you because you have them fooled? God is not fooled.

Who cares if you have created an illusion that deceives others for the entire course of your life when, at the end of it all, you will give an account of it to the ultimate Judge, the One who knows the secrets of your heart? Of what use is it to gain the world and lose your soul?

But when you know that God is with you and for you, even if you are rejected, misunderstood, put out, or canceled by others because of lies or misinformation or injustice. At times like that, you genuinely feel bad for those who malign you, knowing that you yourself are blessed.

Coming in Low

This doesn’t mean that you dismiss all human opinion, however. The person who fears and honors the Lord walks with a limp, not a strut, recognizing the importance of being correctable and teachable.

What does this look like? It might look like entertaining thoughts like these:

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Perhaps those words that I perceived as a personal attack can help me grow and mature.

Perhaps there is a reason that people have turned against me.

Perhaps I can learn from the criticism and complaints, even if some of it is unfair.

Not all criticism is destructive.

The saintly Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813–1843) used to read hateful letters that were sent to him as a pastor, wanting to see if there was any truth to the charges mean-spirited people brought against him. He could do that because, more than anything, he wanted to please the Lord and cultivate a Christlike spirit, and he was secure in his Father’s love.

That’s why, when you seek the favor of God more than the favor of people, you don’t mind getting low and humbling yourself. You don’t mind someone thinking that they have “won” in a struggle with you.

If you have the smile of God on your life, you have everything you need – and I mean everything. He can open up all doors, provide all funds, make the necessary connections, fulfill all dreams, grant all favor. After all, He is God!

So, make it your ambition to please and honor Him and learn to turn off all the other chatter, remembering that “no one can change God’s opinion about you except you.”

Rest in that.

 

Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Can You be Gay and Christian?; Our Hands Are Stained With Blood; and Seize the Moment: How to Fuel the Fires of Revival. You can connect with him on Facebook, X, or YouTube.

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