Do not Seek the Approval of Others
I think a majority of my life I’ve sought the approval of others. I suppose many of us do. Thankfully, with age, this has waned. Somehow the approval of others seems much less important. Approval indicates (at least according to the dictionary) that in those times I’ve sought approval from others that I was actually seeking permission…but permission for what?
Permission to breathe, to exist? Permission to have a favorite color, a favorite type of food? Permission to have my own thoughts, my own point of view? We all do it, don’t we? We all at some point—or at many points in our lives—look for permission from another that we are indeed “okay”. We are looking for that feeling of validation, I believe,…or perhaps there’s other motivating factors, like fear.
But that’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? Few of us enjoy conflict or the disapproval of another, so sometimes we compromise the integrity of our convictions, we shut up the voice of reason in our heart or mind, we even forsake basic things that are individual to us, like our favorite flavor of ice cream, because we want to please another and in doing so garner their approval, even their love. But the Bible has a very different view about where approval should come from.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” And it is so easy to get entangled with various forms of seeking approval. Paul does say in Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” but that is different than attempting to obtain approval. This speaks to respecting one another.
The apostle Paul makes it very clear in Galatians 5:1,7, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery…You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” Our freedom is found in Christ, and our approval comes through Him and from Him alone; He is the one who validates us. But it is possible in our walk with the Lord to be burdened again by many things, including seeking the approval of others.
This does not mean that we are not to be accountable to one another, but there should be no bondage in this; no seeking of another’s approval or trying to please them. Paul says in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”
I like the way Paul sums it up in this statement: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 He says that he wouldn’t even be a follower of Christ if he was trying to please others because being a follower of Christ isn’t even popular.
It is impossible to truly please others and obtain their approval. Even if we manage to gain their approval for a period of time, it will not last.
Today, remember: our Father in Heaven loves us. This is not something we have to “work” for. We already have His approval through Christ. Yes, He will grow us, mold us, and shape us, bring conviction and repentance and much more, but we already have His unconditional love. Rest in His love today.
FBC Aztec Member