Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. (John 5:41-43)
Relate: “Your approval means nothing to me.” Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say that and really mean it? When someone mocks, judges, ridicules, or condemns me, wouldn’t it be beautiful to be able to say, “I don’t care” without lying? Every child knows that old rhyme, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Every child who ever quoted this was probably wishing it were true and wondering if it was true for others. Jesus was able to say it and mean it. I’m not there yet.
The truth is, I can remember. I can remember my coach telling me that nobody will ever be able to teach me to catch a fly ball. He would stick me in right field for two innings each game because the rules required that everybody get a chance to play. I remember my third grade teacher throwing my book across the room because I hadn’t done my homework… again. (Never was cured of that one) I have no idea what her name was but I can remember the face of disgust when I asked out that one girl at the New Jersey teen camp. Then she laughed and ran away. The list could go on. I consider myself pretty thick skinned, but even I find myself all too often longing for the approval of others. I think all of us, with little effort, could dredge up memories of times we did not get it.
React: The truth is, I don’t think we will ever be cured of the need for approval. Even Jesus wasn’t immune. He simply sought only after the approval of the Father. The trick isn’t to become immune to the needs of approval from others. The trick is to figure out who those “others” should be from whom we seek approval. Immediate family should make that short list. It is wise to keep parents, spouse and kids in mind with our actions, ambitions, and words. But even they can let us down. Even they can become enthroned as an idol in our quest for approval. Ultimately it is God alone who should be the focus of our attention. It is to God alone that we ought to seek approval. Nothing else matters. No one else even comes close.
Is it too flippant to ask You, God, to be my muse? I want to be enraptured by Your beauty. I want to be inspired by Your greatness. I want to be desperate for Your smile when You look my way. I want to be conscious of what You’ve said, where You’re moving and what Your heart beats for with every beat of my own. I want to want what You want. I want You alone to be the motivation for my actions and You alone to be the place I go for my approval. Nothing else matters. I want more and more and more and more of You in me.