Seek God's Approval
Anger, avoidance, and approval are three powerful ingredients that affect every relationship we experience in life. Many books have been written about the negative impact that these emotions can have when they are out of control. The decision to follow Jesus brings the presence of the Holy Spirit into our lives and then He helps us to experience Gods love which fills the voids in our lives that sin has opened. The way we have been raised, as well as many years of sinful choices, gives us a propensity to move toward anger, avoidance, and approval in an unhealthy manner. When you’re not following Jesus as closely as you should, do you become a controller, an avoider, or a person constantly seeking approval?
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I (Bryan, the Author) don’t understand all the reasons for people pleasing, but I know for many years I believed my self-worth was based on what others thought of me or my performance. If I was liked or esteemed, I felt good. When someone disapproved of me, I felt bad. It created the following cycle in my life: work hard, achieve, receive praise, feel unfulfilled, decide I needed to work harder, repeat. I repeated that cycle many times. I applied the same approval pattern to my relationships with others and with God until I became a Christian, and then I began to realize that my efforts and achievements would never fulfill me. I had to allow the Scriptures to transform my think about seeking the approval of others.
I wish I could say by the time I entered full-time ministry I was completely delivered from that cycle, but that wasn’t true. I remember praying to the Lord on one occasion, which actually thinking about it now was more complaining than praying. I remember asking God to let me just be a normal Christian because I was feeling the stress and pressure of life and full-time ministry. I wanted God to pat my head and tell me I would be fine, but He showed me something different. He revealed to me Jeremiah 31:14 “I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty, declares the Lord.”
If I would be satisfied with Gods abundance, then the people I was ministering to would be filled with Gods goodness rather than mine. It’s important to see how God sees us, and that God’s approval, and unfailing love is what will really satisfy and break the cycles of anger, avoidance, or approval.
[excerpt from Follow: Learning to Follow Jesus]