An apostle is sent by the Lord. He is standing in two places; before His Sender, the Lord, and before those to whom He sent him; the people.
In these places he has two totally different roles. Standing before the Lord he is getting orders and advises from Him who is above all other names, actually the King of kings. Standing before the people he is delivering to them that what he got from the Lord, being His representative. Before the people he is standing in the authority he has got from his Sender. Still he is a servant in both positions.
Which one of these two places in the life of an apostle is more important? I think the one where he will finally be standing; before the Lord. He is his Judge, not the people. But he will be judged for his job with the people. So it too is important how he is standing before the people.
The crucial thing is the heart of the apostle, is he loyal and faithful to the Lord, seeking His glory, or does his heart become corrupt wanting the glory from the people to himself and not to the Lord, Whom he represents. Lord Jesus Himself was sent to us by the Father.
He speaks about these things in John. 5:41-44:
“I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”
The Lord is speaking here about the one sent by God and about the people to whom he is sent. Both are easily tempted to seek their own honor; the one sent in trying to please the people speaks from himself and not what the Sender has sent him to speak. And the people not wanting to humble themselves before the Lord in listening His Word, rather receive those speaking things easier to their ears.
Like Jesus tells in John 7:18:
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him is true and no unrighteousness is in him.”
Apostle Paul also speaks much about this matter. He himself wanted only to please the Lord and was grieved about the fact that so many sent by the Lord were seeking their own glory. He said once that he did not have anyone seeking the will of God, to accompany him in the ministry, but they all were seeking their own.
There is a great danger in the temptation to seek honor and position to ourselves in midst of the people. We will then start pleasing them instead of pleasing the Lord. If we start focusing more in the people than in the Lord, we can get on a slippery surface. If we hold the place before Him as the most important place in our life, we will manage to stand before the people speaking the words He has given to us and not caring if we are pleasing the people or not, as long as we just please the One sent us to them.
Also, we don’t get the job done if we speak from ourselves. Only the words He gave to us have life and power in them and will not go in vain but fulfill the purpose why God sent them. And it takes God for real transformation, not any apostle or the people to whom he is sent are able to do anything life changing from themselves. They only get the same show going on… So if we want any results there are no reason to please ourselves or the people more than God. Let’s keep this in mind!