I have cared so much about what the world thinks of me that I often lose the joy of being a friend of God. The approval of others is like a drug, and it numbs me from feeling the love of a good, good Father.
You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that ‘he’s a fiercely jealous lover.’ And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find.
~ James 4:4-5 Message
Well, I’m weary of being numb. Because the truth is, the approval of others and being liked by the world is like most other drugs – it’s counterfeit. It’s temporary and fleeting. It will never fully satisfy my soul’s longing to be accepted and loved.
Being an approval junkie sends me down an endless path of looking for the next person to love me and to affirm me. It leads to unhealthy choices that keep me in bondage and apart from Jesus.
I desire for the world and its opinions to become so small in light of how big and real God is to me. I want to crave his love over the approval of my friends and the rest of the world.
I believe truth is a game-changer and a chain-breaker. Jesus said his truth would set us free. So it starts with truth.
James goes on to declare that God is generous and gives grace. I need to receive his grace, which covers all of my broken places, including my need for affirmation from the world.
I then take Him at His word when he tells me that I cannot be focused on finding approval (and thereby my self-worth) from the world. And I need to believe that looking to Him for approval is what matters. He is a jealous God who knows that a double-minded heart is prone to wander. So he asks boldly for my allegiance to Him, and to Him alone.
I accept that His ways are better and higher than my own. I believe that His love is greater than any earthly love I’ll ever know. And I look to Him for my sufficiency. He completes me.
The beauty of His ways… when He is so real and so big to me that I need no other thing, person, job, money, fame, to satisfy me… well, then I am free. Free to love people. Free to chase dreams. Free to stand for justice. And free to be a champion of grace.