Desperately seeking approval
“…for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” John 12:43
The lead up to this passage tells us that many people now believed that Jesus was who He said he was. This included some of the Jewish leaders. But they would not admit this because they did not want to lose their prestige in the community or the best seats in the synagogue. They stayed silent–because they valued and esteemed the approval they received from the people around them, more than the approval of God.
Even though the Pharisees claimed to be doing the will of God, in reality they were seeking recognition and praise from mere mortals. Does that sound familiar to you? It does to me.
Last Sunday Pastor Chris spoke about the temptation of Christ by Satan in the desert. He pointed out how Satan used 3 particular temptations to attempt to sway Jesus from His appointed work. These 3 temptations are very familiar to all of us and represent the areas that we will need to develop strength in order to resist their pull in our own lives.
These areas of potential attack are our need for approval, our appetite and our ambition. How simple. How concise. How terrifying! Depending upon each of our own individual experiences in life, one of these three is likely a greater struggle for us than the others. For some of us, all three are a problem.
I remember reading the passage from John 12:43 years ago and stopping in my tracks. I underlined it and and had such a lightbulb moment that I know I have not been the same since. I saw myself in those words so clearly. My own personal history, had made a need for approval from others so prevalent in my life that at times I couldn’t even recognize what I needed and wanted–it was all about what I thought the people around me needed and wanted me to be. At that moment, I realized that I had been seeking approval from the wrong source for far too long. At times I would deny my faith by remaining silent because I was afraid the people in my workplace or environment would not approve. That moment was pivotal for me. Back then I didn’t understand the concept of the covenant relationship that God had entered into with me. I knew He loved me and that I loved Him back, but I did not understand that our relationship was central to my own identity as His child. But that day God opened my eyes to a truth that He knew I needed to grab onto. Our covenant relationship provided me with all the approval I would ever need. Thanks be to God!