June 29, 2010

Idol of Approval

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- June 29, 2010

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

I struggle with needing the approval of people. Their questions assault my identity: “Do they accept me? Do they trust me? Do they believe in me? Am I good enough for them? How can I make them feel good or happy? Do they respect and value me? Worldly approval seeks to gain affection or avoid resentment at the expense of my identity in Christ.

Approval is not bad in itself. Wise children want their parent’s approval. It’s respectful and job security for an employee to see the approval of his or her boss. It’s healthy to win the approval of friends and family members you love and who love you. But approval becomes ugly when it defines who you are. Unrestrained accommodation leads to idolatry. Thus, the Lord’s approval may dismiss men’s approval for their own protection.

“They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction” (Hosea 8:4).

God disapproves when we are driven by approval outside of His influence. If approval from people is required for me to be happy and content, I am set up for frustration and discontentment. Sanction from people can compete with sanction from the Spirit. This happens when I replace my identity in Christ with my identity in consent from others.

Therefore, it’s imperative that the Lord’s approval becomes our motivation above seeking anyone else’s approval. For example, this may mean saying no to accompanying a friend to a place God disapproves. So, seeking Christ’s approval first means you can relax, be yourself and not have to prove yourself to people who are impossible to please anyway.

You avoid the idol of approval when you worship God alone and accept who He says you are in Christ. You are a child of your heavenly Father, accepted in the Beloved (Jesus) and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Approval from the Almighty gives you confidence to be who you are and leave the results to God. We will never please all the people all the time.

In Christ—you are approved by God and extremely valuable as His incredible creation. When the Lord approves of you, you do not have to prove yourself to others. Ignore the idol of approval by first pleasing and worshiping Jesus Christ. His approval matters most.

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him” (Matthew 17:5)!

Who’s approval do I need to give over to the Lord and trust Him with their reactions?

Related Readings: Judges 18:6; Esther 2:17; John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 11:19

Boyd Bailey is the author of Wisdom Hunters daily devotional and two devotional books, Infusion and Seeking Daily the Heart of God


  1. Patrick C says:

    Great thought – Well said – I approve

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