Approval gives him a sense of worth. That he is loved, appreciated, valued, wanted, and needed.
As adults we seek approval too. We seek it from bosses, coaches, significant others, friends, children, teachers, and even strangers. When we get approval from others, life is good. When that approval is elusive, life isn’t quite so good.
We know what it is like to be disapproved. Our boss gives us our review and says we are pretty average. Or a coach pulls us out of a game. Or a significant other says something that hurts us. A friend seems to distance herself from you for no reason. Your child doesn’t give you the time of day. The teacher criticizes your work. The stranger doesn’t notice you or notices you too much.
David needs to know something and I tell him this often: he is approved by me. Whether he stamps out his authority on the basketball court and singlehandedly wins the game or misses a simple lay-up—I approve of him. Not because of his performance. But because he is my son.
You need to know something and hopefully you hear this from God often: God approves of you. It doesn’t matter if others approve of you. It doesn’t matter if you approve of yourself. Success and failure don’t matter either. God approves of you because you are His child.
We speak as those approved by God. -1 Thessalonians 2:4
We are wired and trained to seek the approval of others. Nothing wrong with loving others, serving others, being creative, and striving for excellence. But a problem exists: Basing our worth on what a collection of imperfect people believe about us or basing our worth on what we perceive a collection of imperfect people believe about us is a recipe for absolute disaster.
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. –Galatians 1:10
We have a choice. To exhaust our resources trying to gain approval from others that we may never earn and certainly will never keep or to live under the approval of God and relate to all others based on that approval. As far as choices go, it’s a pretty easy one to decide. It’s much more difficult to practice it. But not nearly as difficult as not practicing it.