Proper Approval

Many people in America are going through an identity crisis right now. I have written on this a few times recently. Whether it is they want to fit in, or they simply want people to like them. I say this as someone who struggles at times with trying to be a people-pleaser. Christians will be quick to say, you just have to let go and let God. For the record, I agree with that. However, it can be tough at times. The Corinthians knew all too well about people-pleasing. They were also infested with people who were in it just for themselves. The apostle Paul addresses this in 2 Corinthians 10:7-8 when he writes, “But he who glories, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”

In another letter, Paul wrote to Christians asking them, what do you have that you were not given? That is such a powerful question. If we are honest, everything we have is given to us. Someone took a chance on us and hired us to give us a job. As a result of our work and the agreement, they pay us. We then use that money to go out and buy things. We didn’t create ourselves, someone gave us life. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. We have no reason to glory of ourselves. We have no reason to commend ourselves. Everything we have and everything we are comes from God. Here is the problem though, we know that mentally, but we live as though it all depends on us. We are quick to pray about a lot of things, but when God answers, how quick are we to thank Him? If we are going to brag on anyone, it needs to be the Lord. Not only should we boast about the Lord, but we should also seek His approval in everything we do. The praise of man is a fickle thing. If you don’t believe me, go ask some athletes or coaches. When you win, they love you. When you lose, you are the dumbest, worst player or coach there ever was. It doesn’t just happen in athletics, it happens in almost every walk of life. My question to myself and to you is this, if we know how fleeting the approval of man can be, why do we long for it so much? Why do we do everything we can to get it, and then continue to strive so hard to keep it? I would submit to all of us, that our life would be a lot less stressful if we simply strived for God’s approval. If we were men and women of prayer, before a crisis hit, during the crisis, and after the crisis. And our prayer would simply be a request for God to give us His wisdom, and to help us live for Him. That doesn’t mean that everyone will like you. If doesn’t mean that everyone will agree with your decisions. But it does mean that you are more likely to be in the will of God, and pleasing the One we will all stand before one day and give an account to. I want to leave you with this thought, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt. 10:28). If I was going to have to pick who to live for and gain the approval of, I would suggest you live for the One who will ultimately judge you in the end, and that is not man, it is God.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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