The trap of searching for our self-worth in something, anything, outside of the Lord is one which all of us fall into at one time or one other. The lure of success and recognition is robust. The desire to be a part of a gaggle, to slot in, to be recognized as special sinks its claws into us at a young age and barely lets go. As believers, we all know that our worth is in who God says we’re – His children (Galatians 3:26, John 1:12) – but we should still get caught up within the cycle of in search of approval from others. When we discover ourselves on this unhealthy and sinful pattern, we’d like to take steps to vary our behavior.
We will be blind to our own faults, so we must test our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:15) and behaviors to find out if we’re focused on the approval of the Lord or the approval from others. Each of us must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and proper us as needed (John 16:13). The way that you just seek approval will look in a different way from how I seek approval, so we each should be alert for individual indications that we’re headed down this negative path. Keep an eye fixed out for a few of these “red flags” which may be signs that you just are in search of approval from the unsuitable source:
When we repeatedly check for the way many “likes” and comments our posts receive, we could also be searching for approval from people.
When we sacrifice personal time to get a project done early simply to please our supervisor, we could also be searching for approval from people.
When we repeatedly search for reassurance from our family and friends that they think our selections are good ones, we could also be searching for approval from people.
When we fish for compliments and are jealous once we hear others be complimented, we could also be searching for approval from people.
When an acquaintance makes inappropriate jokes and we stay silent but feel ashamed, we could also be searching for approval from people.
What Does the Bible Say?
The Bible is evident that we’re to hunt our approval from God and never from people. Our Lord’s view of us is what matters, and He defines our value. People are flawed and sinful and fickle. We will consistently be searching if we’re in search of approval from man, but God, who doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6, NIV), loves us fully. So much in order that He sent His only Son to die for us. What other approval could we’d like?! Many Bible verses speak clearly on this topic, leaving little question that our value is defined by our Heavenly Father, and searching for praise from people shouldn’t be the trail the Lord has for us.
“How can you suspect, once you receive glory from each other and don’t seek the glory that comes from the one God?” (John 5:44, NIV).
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man offers you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval” (John 6:27, NIV).
“Peter and the opposite apostles replied: ‘We must obey God relatively than human beings!’” (Acts 5:29, NIV).
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you understand that your labor within the Lord shouldn’t be in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV).
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do all of it within the name of the Lord Jesus, giving due to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17, NIV).
“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you understand that you’re going to receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you’re serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV).
“Am I now attempting to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I attempting to please people? If I were still attempting to please people, I might not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10, NIV).
“Serve wholeheartedly as for those who were serving the Lord, not people” (Ephesians 6:7, NIV).
“On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We will not be attempting to please people but God, who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, NIV).
“We weren’t in search of praise from people, not from you or anyone else, although as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority” (1 Thessalonians 2:6, NIV).
What to Do About It?
Now that we’ve identified a few of the ways in which we is perhaps searching for approval from others and we understand what the Bible clearly says about it, we will take steps to eliminate this behavior. There are three important things we will do to grow closer to the Lord as we work to please Him and never people:
To make changes, we must recognize the situations where we’d like probably the most help. We may have to usher in an accountability partner, remove social media from our phones, or be certain we pray immediately after receiving feedback or a compliment to supply our praise to the Lord and ground ourselves in the reality of His Word. As we grow in recognition of the areas by which we struggle probably the most, we may also begin to take preventive steps before specific situations arise to diminish the likelihood of falling into the approval trap.
After we recognize the areas where we’re searching for approval from others, we’d like to repent. Begin by admitting it to the Lord, knowing that He offers forgiveness (1 John 1:9, NIV). Then ask Him for help to get out of the alluring trap of desiring praise from others. We know that the Lord is our help (Psalm 121:2, NIV) and can provide what we ask of Him (Matthew 7:7, NIV, John 14:13-14, NIV). While we may proceed to be tempted to seek out our self-worth in what others say about us, we all know that God all the time provides us a option to endure our temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV) so pray to Him and ask Him to offer a way out!
Intentionally begin your day by reading the Bible. Starting the day without work with the Lord puts us on the correct track from the start. When we’ve connected with God before anyone else, we’re prioritizing Him and His view of us. Keeping the Lord first in your life will provide help to to hunt His approval only. Reading a few of the verses listed here will be an ideal reminder. Writing and displaying these biblical affirmations and truths where you’ll frequently see them is a simple option to absorb the Word. Perhaps you wish to put Post-it notes in your bathroom mirror or a small chalkboard next to the coffee pot. However you approach it, read biblical reminders of what God thinks about you and feel His love in your life! His approval of you, which has already been given, is the one approval that matters!
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