photo by: Christa Kimbal

I was sitting with my brother, a few days ago now.  Out of the blue he said something related to the conversation and it felt harsh.  My response was,  “Are you ridiculing me?”   I wasn’t sure what to feel.  His face never shifted and he said these words:  “If that’s how you’re taking it.”

I was stunned.  I had just been to a friend’s home where she told me the story of honor her husbands’ family had placed upon him as a child.  There was just one thing his father disapproved of.  He made it known every day, but every day his son chuckled and rejoiced in who he was, secure, loved.

When I heard that I thought, wow … it would have bothered me.  I would have felt rejected.  I would have felt my parents didn’t approve of me and I would have changed my ways for the sake of peace.

I told my brother this story and when it came right down to it I looked at him and said with a jaw drop, “I WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO SEEK MY PARENTS APPROVAL!”

The truth hit hard and deep.  To be honest I’m still reeling a bit.  I’ve spent my life seeking the approval of my parents and their friends, of people I respect … of PEOPLE!  It is a dangerous place to walk.

Let me tell you what it has done for me.  I have forgotten who I am.  I have desired what others want for me instead of what God has given me to do.  I have set aside the things of God for the things of man.  I have looked love in the face and felt shame.  I have been held captive by my own perceptions of how others view me.  I have been a puppet.  I have been.

And so, as he does sometimes so tactfully he look at me and shrugged.  It was his yes you’re right shrug.  And then he said this: YOU’RE ALREADY APPROVED!  A wave of joy rushed over me.  I AM approved.

Well, you say, Jesus had favor with people … yes! Favor.  There is a difference between increasing in favor and seeking approval.  One has root in relationship with God and grows naturally like a vine.  The other is manipulated and coaxed, out of order and death to the whole body.

It’s painful to be brutally honest with ourselves … to be brutally honest with God.  If we are trying to please people we are not slaves of Christ.  I want so to be in the latter category.

We ARE approved.  We are not meant to seek the approval of men.  Whose approval do you seek?

Gal. 1:10 “Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still trying to please people I would not be a servant of Christ!“

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