What a question. Of course you are looking for approval! Everyone is. It is wired into our DNA. We are human. We may try to talk ourselves out of wanting it, pretend that we don’t care what people think.
But deep inside, when we are quiet, alone and totally honest with ourselves, we know that we want someone to think we are special. Someone who delights in us…just the way we are! That’s often the motive behind “falling in love”…and the disillusionment when the reality doesn’t work out quite the way we dreamed. It also relates to our desire for “best friends”…at least in certain stages of our lives.
Each of us goes about getting this approval in different ways. But we want it from somewhere outside of ourselves. Ultimately, we need this approval from GOD to find the satisfaction we are looking for. We may not realize He is the one from whom we are seeking it, but ultimately our need is for His approval.
Recently, we have been discussing this topic in Sunday School. Our teacher has been Wade Skinner. He started by sharing some autobiographical information from his life. It showed the many ways he had tried to earn approval…from all kinds of people. The times he was successful, it didn’t bring the long-lasting satisfaction he expected.
Of course, there were also times when he wasn’t successful. The realization that ultimately he was accepted in Christ cushioned the blow of those disappointments. They were discouraging for sure, even provoked grief at times, but ultimately the knowledge that His acceptance came from the One who knows him helped him survive.
You may not be aware of the ways you are seeking this approval. I’d like to help open your eyes to see it. Whether you are a people pleaser, an over-achiever at work, at home, as a mother or wife. There are many other ways we express it, but think about your ways. No matter how organized or “together” you are able to be, it won’t bring permanent satisfaction. You will still be striving for approval.
Can you identify with his quest? He describes it as the quest for righteousness. I always associated that quest with something more like perfectionism…which I have found to be very dissatisfying. But that describes self-righteousness, not true righteousness. Wade (a seminary grad) said original word and concept actually means more like approval, acceptance, passing scrutiny.
Can you imagine the depth of satisfaction that comes from GOD’s verdict that you are accepted by HIM? That He has approved you and you have passed HIS scrutiny?
And what is the basis for a sinner to pass that scrutiny? Our death with Christ and resurrection with Christ that paid the price for our sin and gave us a clean record before our righteous Judge. In other words, if we are “in Christ” we are accepted or righteous.
See Luke 18:9-14
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves
that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee,standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven,
but beat his breast, saying, ‘God,be merciful to me, a sinner!’
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
So along with our question of whether we are wanting approval is whose approval are we looking for? Now there is a question to ponder. I’ll let you think on it a bit. We’ll talk about it soon. More to come…