I was recently listening to a message by John Ortberg on growing spiritually. It made me begin to think that many people spend their life looking around wanting approval from everyone.
The truth is...comparison kills the motivation for spiritual growth. It is normal in today's culture to compare. Comparison creates an empty hole in our heart where we feel like we will never measure up.
So what is the usual response? We stop, throw up our hands up and stifle our growth. It is an epidemic in churches and in families.
What we create is approval factories. Could we be building modern-day pharisees with modern traditions? We have a select group of people who everyone thinks that is untouchable. Are we trying to become the person that others want us to become? Are we building our approval from the wrong people? Are we so committed to "good" things that we are missing out on God's best for us?
In our relationships we have to make decisions:
Stop showing approval based upon the outward appearance. Flattery is based upon outside appearance or ability. God looks at the heart. Avoid building up your friends, children or co-workers based upon what they do but upon who they are. Look into the heart of those around you and ask the question, "how can I lift them up?"
Start encouraging people with the restoring love of Jesus. In our relationships, we need to be sensitive to loving each other unconditionally. In order to stop living for superficial approval, we must pour out the unchangeable love of Christ. The person God has created us to become must be grounded in His unconditional love. God has created us uniquely for a specific purpose.
What voice are you listening to today? Listen. God's voice is saying, "I am FOR you!" No matter what anyone says, your identity and approval can only be satisfied in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.
The question is, are we becoming the person that God has called us to become?