Proverbs 29:25, Galatians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6
Three times Peter denied Jesus. He wanted to be accepted by the group. Do we seek acceptance of others over the acceptance of God? Do we think too much about what people think about us? Are we over-sensitive to criticism? Do we have a hard time saying no? It is true we should care about what people think about us but not go overboard with it.
Proverbs 29:25: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” A snare is like a noose around the neck and makes it easy to lead someone around. This pictures what happens when we seek the approval of man. The last part tells us we are safe when we trust God. There is no safety when we put our trust is man.
What happens when we are led by the noose of man’s approval?
- We are led away from God and from the purpose He has for our life.
- We miss out on the growth opportunities God gives. Being obsessive with what people think is the faster way to forget what God thinks about us. Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? Whose opinion means more? 1 Thessalonians 2:4: “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”
- It leads us toward sin. We succumb to peer pressure and think everyone’s doing it. The larger people are in our life, the smaller God becomes. On the other hand, the bigger God is to us, the less we will feel the need to please people. When we sin is it to get approval or avoid rejection? Galatians 1:10: ”Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, 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.” We cannot serve two masters.
- It silences us from sharing the Gospel because we are focused on pleasing people and not God.
Some thoughts to help us break the noose of man’s approval:
- Realize even God can’t please everyone.
- Getting people's approval doesn’t lead to true happiness. People change. Example is the Children of Israel and how over time they got tired of manna.
- What seems important now in man’s eyes is only temporary.
- We only have to please God. Integrity is more important than popularity.
- One day we will have to give account for what we did in this life.
- Remember to have lunch with Jesus. In John 21 Jesus feeds the disciples. It is after the resurrection. At that time Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him, and then gives Peter the purpose for his life. As we meet with Jesus, He will also give us direction for our life.
Let Jesus reinstate you as He did with Peter with His truth of who you are in Him.