Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?
Thoughts for Today:A few months ago our fourteen year old niece Bailey spent some time with our family. Sitting around the table and chatting after dinner one evening, the question came up, "What has been your most embarrassing moment?" We all answered with funny stories until it came to Bailey's turn. She said, "I never worry about what other people think, so I've never been embarrassed." I smiled and said, "That's great. We should all try to be more like that." Later that evening my wife giggled when she thought of Bailey's answer, and then said to me privately, "She's fourteen. She doesn't even put on shoes without first worrying about what her friends will think!"
In our passage today, Paul expresses a human condition that few of us independent- minded human beings are willing to admit: We either are trying to win the approval of other people, or God. It's one or the other. Think about it, even maintaining an attitude of fierce individuality, self-reliance, and rugged independence rests on the idea that other people will honor and respect those traits in us. Right now, each one of us is either trying to win the approval of family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, or the approval of God. Unfortunately, if we're trying to fit in because we're concerned with what others think, three things will ultimately become our fate: People will think we're foolish because we're trying to be someone we're not; we will miss out on the goodness God has prepared for us; and finally, we will be destroyed -- emotionally, physically and spiritually.
However, if we're living for the Lord's approval, our foundation will always be certain. I pray that today the Lord would give us all a new desire and a firmer resolve to say, "We choose to no longer seek the approval of people. Instead we choose to walk only in ways that please God." (Proverbs 29:25: Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.")
Questions to Ponder:Whose approval do you seek? Is it God's? How does what you're doing at this moment please Him? What about the remainder of your day? Will it be pleasing to Him? How can you make certain? What adjustments need to be made to your thoughts, attitudes and actions?