March 11, 2016

Approval of Others

I had my blog written on overcoming the need to have the approval of others and how the Word speaks to it. I started writing it THREE days ago and here I sit the day before, rewriting the whole thing, because I realized I cared too much about what you, my reader, would think.

Things like this ran through my mind:

  • Is what I am writing a good topic?
  • Will anyone follow my logic?
  • What if I forget to add something that is really important?
  • Will you think I should do something besides write and teach?
  • How do I present it so it gets read?
  • Was it going to be helpful to anyone?
  • Would you ever read anything I wrote ever again based on this blog?

Nuts, I know. Frantically wanting YOUR approval on a blog about how to overcome the need to have the approval of others. Even this coach, teacher, and writer struggles. I know my past wounds have something to do with its intensity, but it has always been a part of me. Wanting to be important, noticed, needed.

What does God’s Word have to say about whose approval I should live for? How do I change my heart’s focus from self and others, to Him? How do I get rid of this ball and chain?

1. The Lord calls us to not have any other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3)

When I care so much about what others think of me, I am letting them take the place of God in my life. I create an idol that competes with Him for my heart. I am giving others the power only God should have over my life. I am serving at their altar of what I should be or not be, do or not do. God is a jealous God – He created me and saved me for Himself, to bring glory only to Him, to be satisfied only in Him. We are called to turn from idols to serve the living God. People’s approval is just such an idol we must turn from.

2. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our Faith, laying aside every weight and sin, and run with endurance the race set before us. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Jesus was about His Father’s business, not giving credence to man’s ways. He did not come to fulfil their image of a Messiah. He came as servant and Savior. Many, including family and His disciples, tried to rush Him and get Him to act in the way THEY thought was best. He walked through His detractors as they went to stone Him a couple times – because it was not yet His time. He turned over tables in the temple, demanding respect for His Father’s house, with no concern of how it fed the tank of rage and plots to kill that the Pharisees had. We, like Jesus, are to focus on God’s mission for us, without letting other’s voices sway us from our path.

Approval of others is a weight – ball and chain. Sin – idolatry that God will not tolerate. We cannot run this race, this life He saved us to live, if we are loaded down with other people’s expectations. Idols must be carried and can be cumbersome, sapping away our energy and desire to live for Him. These two must be laid down. They slow us down. They keep us from focusing on Jesus. He is our hero. He is the One we are to be living for. Let’s get to running that race in a state we can win it in – unencumbered by the approval of others, with Jesus as our God.

3.. We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.(Ephesians 2:10)

We are saved by by grace through faith in Christ. We are a new creation. We are a masterpiece of the living God, created IN CHRIST to do good works. Whose works? God’s. The works are good. They are God’s, They were prepared in ADVANCE for us to do. W do not need to be afraid of making mistakes when we are doing the works HE has for us to do. We are HIS masterpiece and no one else’s. Who are we to let others dictate what we are to be doing as His daughters? That is His job. Let Him be the Master of His own masterpiece.

4. God is ALL we will ever need (Psalm 23)

Familiar, but true.

  • He is our shepherd.
  • He makes us rest.  He leads us – beside still waters, into paths of righteousness.
  • He restores our soul.
  • He blesses us in the presence of our enemies.
  • He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.
  • His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life.
  • We will dwell in His house forever.

Why would we waste time focusing on the voices of all those who are not Him, when He is so very much enough for every need we have. He will guide us. His voice is the One we should want to tune our ear to. It is His voice we should listen for and follow. His voice leads us to Him whose ways are perfect, who died to save us, who lives to intercede for us and lead us in ways of righteousness. He gives us rest from striving to measure up to everyone else. He gives us value and worth from His very presence in every area of our lives.

Others are not your Shepherd. Only God – Yahweh – Abba – Yeshua – is. Let us rest in the evidence of His approval – His constant care and provision. The following words are from a song I learned as a child. It makes me cry when I speak it and think of my heart’s-cry for this to be so true in my life. The voices of others and my fears of failure all fall away when the only thing in my sights is Jesus. My prayer for you is that it will also become your heart- cry. Strain to only hear His voice and let it alone inform you of  your worth and the value of what you do as His daughter.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

GO! Live for your audience of One, laying aside the approval of others, fixing your eyes on the One who made you for Himself and will always be with you to guide you where you should go.

  • What voices are you listening to besides God’s?
  • How is the need for the approval of others wearing you out and slowing you down?
  • What things of earth will fall away for you as you make Jesus your focus and not the world’s clamoring voices?
  • Explain an “ideal” day where you are living as God’s masterpiece and not for the approval of others? What does it feel like? What are you doing? When will you begin to set goals to get there? Today?
  • How can I be praying for you?