GOD’S APPROVAL vs MAN’S APPROVAL
“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!”
Advertising seeks to manipulate us all the time: “Buy this product, or you’re stupid!” or “You’d be a fool not to take advantage of this sale!” Have you ever bought something you didn’t want just because you didn’t want to look dumb? Have you ever stood there while somebody offered you something – you didn’t like it but you bought it anyway? The basic underlying principle involved there is the fear of rejection. It not only allows others to manipulate us; it also causes us to hurt in many other ways. The fear of rejection pressures us to conform to opinion and actions of our peers…i.e. peer pressure. We don’t want to stand out as the odd person so we tend to walk like other people, talk like other people, act like other people and dress like other people. Why? We really want to be ‘in’!! We don’t want to be rejected.
Unfortunately the ‘in’ crowd or the ‘in’ thing can be at odds with the ‘God thing’, and in many cases is! This fear of rejection will often keep us from speaking the truth because if we speak what we know to be true we’re afraid that we’ll be rejected by people. Or, people won’t tell you the real truth or real story being afraid that you’ll reject them. In some cases this can even silence our sharing about Jesus. We don’t share our faith because we’re worried about the approval of others. Sometimes silence isn’t golden; it’s just plain yellow!! (..ouch!!)
How do we, as believers and leaders, overcome the fear of rejection and the approval of people? We need two primary things: David said in Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear?” The Good News translation renders the last part of that verse as “….I will fear no one.” God is described in two ways which are the two primary foundations for overcoming the fear of rejection:
1. Revelation: The Lord is my light. The light helps us see things more clearly. He will guide me and if I embrace Him and His ways, I will not fear others or their potential rejection. I will stand strong recognizing that other people’s opinions of me will not get me where I need to be. It is God’s opinion and His acceptance that counts. I need to be convinced of that.
2. Perspective: The Lord is my salvation. Even if others reject you God will undergird, strengthen, and comfort you because you stand on His word. He will save you!! When we have God’s perspective on things we are able to put the opinions of others in their proper place and perspective. In other words, don’t overvalue what they say. Living for the approval of others is a miserable way to live and it will eventually cripple your life and ministry!!
In overcoming the fear of rejection we must realize that God is our light and our salvation and His acceptance and approval is all that matters. As the text reminds us, “If I am still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ!”
Mmmmm…….Think about it!!