“On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4
There’s a world of difference between performing for people’s approval, and being free to minister to their needs because we know we already have God’s approval.
Striving for approval is like any other drug; we can never get enough of it…and like all junkies, we go crazy when it’s withheld. It places us at the mercy of other people’s opinions and, as a result, we live on an emotional roller coaster.
That is not how God wants us to live!
Paul was free to speak the truth in love: to confront people or to be gentle with them. When someone told Paul they didn’t like him, he didn’t lose sleep over it because his security and self-worth weren’t built on their acceptance.
Paul didn’t go around comparing himself with others, demonstrating his superiority by trying to be top dog or the one who’s always in charge.
Knowing he already had God’s approval set him free from that anxiety and he could enjoy the life God called him to.
When we’re immature, we worry about what others think of us…but as we become more mature, we realize that most of the time they aren’t thinking about us at all. They’re too busy thinking about themselves – or worrying about what we think of them!
Knowing we have God’s approval gives us the strength to deal with criticism and conflict because we’re secure in our identity.
It is my prayer that as Christians our identity will be in the fact that we are redeemed, called and approved by God…Amen!