We all are aware of the changing approval ratings of all the presidential candidates, but how aware are we of our own approval ratings? Most of us are more driven by what we perceive people’s approval is than we could ever imagine. As long as we are driven by the approval of others we are in a bondage that adversely affects our ability to engage and develop healthy relationship with others and especially with God.
I believe there are three primary areas, which we can be in bondage for approval:
appearance, performance and status. How we view each of these is integral to developing a healthy identity. This bondage to approval can start young if those closest to us do not affirm us in healthy ways in each of these ways. If we are overly affirmed for our appearance we can develop an unhealthy focus on our outward appearance over our inward health. This can lead to a highly superficial life and with highly superficial relationships. All we have to do is look to the entertainment community and online community to see its affects. If our appearance is under affirmed or negatively affirmed we can easily develop an unhealthy lifestyle of seeking affirmation in all the wrong places. If our performance (i.e.: grades, athletics, etc.) is overly affirmed we can become driven to perform but suffer from never “being good enough.” Performance based relationships are toxic. Now what about “status”? Interesting, that the “status symbol” is really a symbol of trying to gain approval. It is evidence of bondage for approval to a certain level of status. A person who is in bondage to status sizes people up and puts them into “classes” according to perceived status. Status based relationships are toxic.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. The bondage that comes from having to gain approval in these areas has had a destructive impact on the quality of relationships and all of life. The majority of people’s lives are lived believing their approval ratings are down and are striving whether they know it or not to gain approval. Now, if this bondage has such radical affect upon our relationship with others what kind of impact does it have on our relationship with God? Every religion in the world is based on this bondage to approval except Christianity.
Can you imagine a life free from having to gain approval from others?
What if there was a way to boost our approval ratings forever? It would be a treasure of incalculable value.
The good news of Jesus Christ reveals to us that our approval rating with our heavenly Father is 100%! This reality once in our hearts explodes a desire to seek Him and serve Him with expectation of incalculable reward! It also births a whole new level of healthy relationship with others. Here is how:
Stop striving to gain approval from others and from God (Matt 6:1-18)
Start believing you are approved by God in Christ Jesus and that He rewards those who continue to seek Him (2Cor 5:21, Hebrews 11:6)
Seek God’s plan, power and purpose for your life (Matt 6:33, 7:7-11)
So, we know that when our practicing of righteousness is done with an audience of One we are free from having to gain the approval of others and free to want and expect reward from our heavenly Father. At the core of this reward is greater knowledge and intimacy with God and with others. The greatest things is life are “relationships.”
As we grow in our understanding and experience of God’s love-approval over us we are now in a position to develop healthy relationship with others. And our heavenly Father desires to bless us with abundant healthy relationships. So, Stop, Start and Seek and reap the blessings from your heavenly Father!2