Galatians 1:10 NIV caught my attention recently: Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?
Wanting the approval of others is a natural desire. It starts when we are very young. How quickly we all learn it’s a good thing to please parents and teachers. Otherwise, unpleasant consequences follow. That habit follows us into adulthood.
To keep approval hunger in check, ask a couple questions: What do I hope to gain if that person approves of me or my work? What will the payoff be for me? Will I get more money, a promotion, peer acceptance, a warm hug, a kind word, or added privileges? Now, take a moment to pray. Ask God if He would approve. Is this action something He would put a stamp of approval on? If the answer is “Yes”, you are moving in a good direction and have shown there is a desire for God’s approval above man’s. If the answer is “No”, your desire is apart from God’s will for your life. The biggest consideration is who’s approval matters most? When God’s approval trumps man’s approval, peace typically shows up. The sooner we grab this simple concept, the happier life will be. Blessings come to those who challenge the need for approval seeking: for self, for parenting, for career goals, and in close relationships.