I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!Galatians 1:6-10 NIV
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare,Proverbs 29:25 NIV
but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
Can you remember the last time you were hungry?
I vividly remember sitting with my step-grandmother as she recounted her experience of the Great Depression in China.
She described how for years they wrestled with severe poverty. They couldn’t afford meat, so they would place rocks in their bowls of rice so they could feel the illusion of eating meat without the fulfilment of actually eating meat.
This is hunger on a whole new level.
This can illustrate what our lives look like when we hunger for people’s opinions.
Like the illusion of fulfilling our hunger, it will genuinely never satisfy us.
You may think:
What do they think about me?
What if I do the wrong thing, will they still like me?
How will this affect how they see me?
When we try to receive our identity through people’s approval it is a snare, like we read in Proverbs 29:25, and oftentimes it causes us to hold back in fear rather than step forward with a God-confidence found in Jesus.
When Paul writes this challenging question, he’s really asking, “Are you living for God’s approval, or man’s approval?”
The grace of accepting Jesus is that we are approved by God, through Jesus.
There is nothing more we can do to receive ‘extra approval’ or ‘more approval’ from God.
I want to encourage you today to live your day from approval, not out of approval.
You don’t need to prove yourself to man when you’re approved by God.
(1) What is an area in which you’ve felt you’ve tried to prove yourself to others?
(2) How can you live from approval, not for approval, in this area of your life?