The following is going to be very academic and possibly boring, but I am on a quest to discover what in the world God wants me to do with this desire for approval that seems to cripple me at every turn. The following is me reasoning my way through the Scriptures…
I am not permitted to seek the approval of men if I am a servant of Christ.
Paul says, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 NIV)
And Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV) He is referring to money in this passage, but the truth seems reasonably universal.
If I have called Jesus “Lord”, as instructed in Romans 10:9, then people are not my lord. The moment I check to see if people are pleased with my blog post or my Bible teaching or whatever act I have performed, then I am treasonous to the one I call Master.
I must view people pleasing as a sin of double-mindedness and, according to Tim Keller, idolatry.
I should not expect God to give me thanks and accolades every time I do something in service for Him.
Jesus says, “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:7-10 NIV)
I am shocked that Jesus would tell his disciples, How inappropriate it would be for you, as a humble servant, to do an act of service and then stand around expecting some kind of thanks and approval from your master.
But then I remember it is BECAUSE I have already been approved by God that I have the privilege of being in His kingdom and acting in His service. It is appropriate, after I have done my duty, to recall that I do not deserve to serve the Holy God. Purposefully calling to mind my unworthiness immediately forces my thoughts toward what Jesus did for me on the cross. Serving, then, is an act of gratitude for the approval I have already received.
I thank God and praise God for the opportunity to serve, not the other way around.
I must rearrange my thinking to fit the above biblical truths. That won’t be hard at all!! (She said with dripping sarcasm.)
(Of my musings above, is there one idea that seems challenging to your way of thinking?)