Approval is something that all of us are searching for whether it’s approval for credit or an application, approval for a certain project, approval from our superiors, or approval from those around us. Approval is something that I used to search for from different people and for different reasons but as I have grown in Christ, I now find myself less concern with how others view me than I do about what Christ knows of me.
One of the biggest and most important lessons that I have learned on my journey with Christ is that no matter what I do for many people, they will never be satisfied. Of course, this is not the case for everyone as a lot of people appreciate the effort(s) you go to for them but there are many people who have come to expect your efforts as though you’re obligated to do so. This is why different past relationships of mine have ended as I love to help people and do my best for them but once they begin to expect them rather than appreciating them, I am quick to stop.
Christ has much to say about such people and situations including removing ourselves from such situations as these people are toxic. Rather than seeking approval from this world, we should be seeking the Kingdom of God above all things: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). While we all search for approval and acceptance, the first place we should begin is up above as Christ accepts us for who we are and He is a gentleman so what we do for Him is always appreciated as He never forces us to do anything and we are not obligated.
Psalms 118:6-7 reads “The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see [my desire] upon them that hate me.” Knowing this should give us all hope because God is always with us wherever we go which means, we do not have to fear anything or anyone because with God on our side, there is nothing that man can do to us. With God on our side, we are highly favored and free from the rejections of man. While we are favored by God, this does not mean that we will never suffer because life is full of disappointments but with God on our side, His favor infinitely outweighs the hatred and disapproval of man.
Many, including myself, have asked the simple question about whom to serve and this is a simple question from Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Here, we understand that Paul’s Gospel did not come from a desire to please man which is something that many preachers and congregations must come back to before it’s too late as we should speak to God, first, rather than to man but many have this backward and seek the approval of man and place God and His Word on the backburner.