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Approval needed?

Approval needed?

Something to read

Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

- Galatians 1:10.

Something to think about

As a teenager, I really took to heart this verse from Galatians, along with 2 Timothy 3:12, which taught me that ‘all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’.

So I shared my faith whether people wanted to hear it or not; I expressed controversial opinions without much pastoral sensitivity; I wasn’t afraid to tell others what God thought of their lifestyle choices. Negative feedback provided evidence that I was indeed living a godly life; I wouldn’t engage with any criticism of my methods. I was happy to be a people non-pleaser, if it mean that I was pleasing Christ.

That’s a big ‘if’, though.

Over the years, I hope I have learned that Christ is not best served by offensiveness or judgementalism, and that irritating people is not the same as persecution! Instead, accountability, humility, and openness to the input of wise friends, is always healthy and right.

Living for God’s approval rather than human acclaim doesn’t mean setting ourselves up against other people. In fact, loving our neighbour is pretty high up the list of things that please God! 

Something to do

Ask yourself where there is any tension in your life between pleasing people, and pleasing God. Are you content with how you navigate this tension? Take your reflections to God in prayer.  

Something to pray

Gracious God, thank you that I can be free from the judgements of other people and the pressure to please everyone, finding my affirmation in you instead. Help me to truly love others, showing the kindness, care and compassion that pleases you. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones