“Evil is the greatest explanation for God.”
Perhaps it’s the rain. It feels especially unwelcome after such a sunny weekend. Or maybe it’s the quietness that fills a space after guests leave. (Those silences make me realize that my home should always be used for hospitality, and often.) In any case, my thoughts are doing a remarkable interpretation of laundry churning in the dryer.
So today’s post is from my sermon notes, because at least those were ordered and cohesive.
The Acute Desire for Approval
I’ll admit it. At my core, I crave approval. I think everyone does. We all want to be significant, we want to matter. In the words of my pastor, we have an acute addiction to approval. What do we forgo when we let it control our lives?
A Distraction from Our Calling
Although not inherently wrong, my very human desire for approval is most certainly a distraction. When I spend my life seeking the approval of others, I fail to relish the approval of God. More importantly, I sail straight by His calling for my life. Rather than dwell on truth, I press “replay” on the thoughtless words someone said, or the situations my foolishness left me in.
Put that way, it seems incredibly stupid, doesn’t it? I’m probably the only person who does this: I cooperate with negative thoughts! My failures don’t define me, but I tend to believe that they do. It’s an awful slope to slide down.
But evil is indeed the greatest explanation for God. When I slip towards self-loathing, the only and best solution is to immerse myself in what God says is true. I’m incapable of manufacturing lasting approval for myself. It must come from the One who created me and knows what will happen tomorrow.
Created for Freedom
The truth is that we were created for much more than a life defined by mistakes. We were created for freedom, and to live in that freedom each day. That’s a key tenant of the Gospel. As per my pastor, here are a few ways to live in freedom:
1. Repent. When lies begin to fill your mind, do a mental (or perhaps a physical) about-face. Immediately remind yourself of the truth.
2. Lean. Choose to rely on God’s power rather than your own. Stop fixing yourself.
3. Stand. Ground yourself on God’s promises, and realize your craving for approval is an echo of a much deeper desire for relationship with God.
4. Stop. Quit trying to earn the approval of people! You’re wearing yourself out. Forgo people-pleasing in favor of honoring God with your life.
Speak truth to yourselves, friends. God is greater; believe it, whether you’re filled with hope or overwhelmed by churning thoughts.