Bible Reading: John 5:31-47
In the middle of our Bible reading today there is a short but very meaningful verse. Jesus said, “I do not accept praise from men” [v.41]. The word translated as “praise” is the Greek word doxa. This word is often translated as glory, but can also be translated as “approval.” Jesus speaking in the context of men who do not have the love of God in them [v.42], and who are not willing to come to Him for life [v.40], is saying that He does not need their approval. Literally, “Your approval means nothing to me” [John 5:41 NLT].
There is a massive difference between encouragement that we all need at times, and the need for approval. In her book, “Approval Addiction,” Joyce Meyer says, “A sense of security is something everyone needs and desires. Security enables us to enjoy healthy thinking and living. It means we feel safe, accepted and approved of. When we are secure we approve of ourselves…. We don’t necessarily need approval from others to feel confident.”
Rejection can be defined simply as the denial of love, acceptance and approval, and one of its side effects is the desire for people’s approval. Rejection is the source of much self-effort to please others in order to gain their approval and feel accepted. To desire men’s approval is linked to the fear of man, and the Bible clearly states that the fear of man brings a snare [Proverbs 25:29]. The Hebrew word used for a snare also means a trap or noose. A trap is used to trap someone and a noose used to kill!
One of the reasons why people struggle to believe God is that they long for the approval of men instead of seeking God’s favour and approval. When a person is secure in their identity they will not need men’s approval but will be satisfied to know that God approves of them. Jim Elliott, the missionary martyr to Ecuador wrote in his journal that the only degree he was looking for was an A.U.G. – Approved unto God!
God has been healing me over a period of many years from the effects of rejection. Because of rejection in childhood I experienced deep insecurity and desperately longed for people’s approval. There were various times when I knew that God had met with me and dealt with an issue relating to that insecurity. One of the most vivid moments was when I read a comment by Oswald Chambers, “Maturity is having nothing left to prove.” As I read that statement I felt a great weight was taken off my shoulders. I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone – not to people, not to my family and not to God!
Why do you think that the desire to have men’s approval is an indication of an area of weakness in our understanding of our identity?
Read Galatians 1:10. Why is it impossible to serve Jesus Christ and at the same time have a motive to please men?
Has God put His finger on an area of insecurity in your life as you have read this word? Why not come to Him in humility and ask Him to heal you?