Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

The famous journalist Horace Greeley once opined, “Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wings.” He is attributed with later adding: “Only one thing endures—character.” I think he was spot on. The trouble is there are different standards for measuring a person’s character. Paul addresses this issue in his first letter to the Corinthians, noting three judgment courts our actions must face.

The first is the court of public opinion. Like it or not, we are all judged by the world around us. Paul wrote, “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court” (1 Corinthians 4:3). Though it may sound callous, Paul was being honest: What others think of us is not the most important thing.

The second is our conscience. If a person is brought up in a Biblically sound home and is guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, then their conscience will likely guide them well. Paul values the conscience, but he knows it is not always a reliable guide (see 1 Corinthians 4:4).

Finally, there is the supreme court—God Himself, the Judge who “will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart” (1 Corinthians 4:5). In the end, God’s verdict is really the only one that matters. We must live out the humility of Christ, who put the will of His Father above all else. 

Prayer: Father, forgive me for seeking the approval of man or of my own conscience before seeking Your will. Help me to rightly prioritize my goals in accordance with what pleases You, my God. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Corinthians 4:4).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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