When I first got saved, I struggled to grasp what my purpose as a Christian was. I was experiencing a struggle that isn’t uncommon among new believers, but it bothered me more than most people. Why couldn’t I figure out what I was supposed to do? Then, one day it hit me! I struggled to find my purpose as a believer because I was seeking man’s approval over God’s approval.
Listen to the Good Christian Podcast episode about this post:
“How to Seek God’s Approval More Than Man’s Approval”
You see, I was heavily relying on other people (My pastors, my friends, and my family.) to tell me what my purpose was. By doing this, I was seeking approval from man, not from God. I wanted those in my life to approve of the direction I was heading in.
God has a great call on each of us to achieve a unique purpose during our lifetime. However, many of us have no idea what this call or purpose means for us specifically. Today I can help give some clarity in this. Are you ready? The first step in understanding your unique purpose in life is to set your focus entirely on gaining God’s approval. It is that simple!
If you decide in your heart that your focus is to be pleasing toward God and care about His approval above all else, He will begin to lead you into the purpose that He has for your life!
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13
How can I seek God’s approval above man’s approval?
Surrender the desire for man’s approval, then wholeheartedly begin seeking God’s approval. Then, in turn, God will lead you to your purpose!
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Whoa Alex, this is pretty simple to comprehend!” You’re right; it is! But comprehension is often far simpler than implementation, and this topic of approval is no exception. Where the challenge comes into play is when people get brought into the mix. Family, significant others, friends, managers, pastors, and others can, often unintentionally, hinder us from seeking God’s approval before theirs.
We obviously all know the people that are bad influences in our lives, and if we do things to earn their approval, then we are seeking man’s approval over God’s. That’s pretty obvious to most of us. But, what about the great Godly people in our lives? They can also hinder us from seeking God’s approval first. This was the case for me.
To explain this further, I’ll go back to my story that I began with. Remember, the people in my life that unintentionally misled me were my pastors, my friends, and my family. (Stick with me here!) Each of these groups of people thought they knew what God would want me to do. Some examples: Serve at church more, stop going to bars, and spend more time with my Christian family.
So I did those things, to earn God’s approval… No wait. I did those things to earn man’s approval because I thought their approval would be the same God’s approval. (Read that again!)
Although the recommendations that these people were making were great, they weren’t God’s will for my life at that point.
In fact, I learned that God wanted me to serve less at church so I could spend more time leading people to Jesus that I was meeting. God wanted me to, “meet them where they were” (which was often bars), and instead of spending more time with family, God wanted me to get involved in city outreaches.
That was hard for me to understand, and even more difficult to take action on. Due to these individuals’ influence in my life, it was important to me to make sure that they thought I was doing God’s will, even if that meant neglecting God’s will altogether. Unfortunately, the moment we shift our priority from seeking God’s approval to focusing on man’s approval, we will step further from God’s purpose for our lives. Here’s a scripture to reinforce this point:
Yet, at the same time, many even among the leaders believed in Jesus. But because of the Pharisees, they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God. – John 12:42-43
It can be such a fine line, can’t it? We want God’s approval, but man’s approval contains instant gratification, which often makes us feel better than receiving God’s approval.
5 ways to begin seeking God’s approval above man’s approval:
These five things I’m about to share are what helped me the most when shifting from man’s approval to God’s approval. I believe they will help you as well!
#1. Begin and end with God.
Seeking God’s approval above man’s approval begins every day the moment that we wake up. We need to start our day surrendering our lives to Him. In the same manner, we need to end our days with thankfulness and reflection on our love for God and His approval. QUESTION: Do you begin and end your day with your Bible in your hand or by scrolling through your social media feeds? (That weird feeling in your stomach you’re experiencing right now is called conviction.)
#2. Know God and be known by Him.
Every day, we need to read the Bible to renew our minds on the Goodness of God. Additionally, we need to learn to “walk with Him” which means to pray continuously. God needs to be part of everything we do.
#3. Ask God for help.
Going back to my story above, I only figured out that I was being pulled away from God, by well-meaning people because I finally asked God for help. I prayed for wisdom, I prayed for discernment. He answered those prayers for me, and He’ll answer them for you.
#4. Be BOLD and courageous.
Here’s the uncomfortable part. Boldness. If you want to seek God’s will above man’s, you have to be like Jesus. Jesus was a bold dude! You have to walk in this level of boldness. I struggle with this one, but I go back to #3 above, I ask God for help. Here’s a quote about courage that has helped me a lot:
Courage means being afraid, then doing what you have to do anyway.
#5. Involve the right people in your life.
This is the tricky part… Involving THE RIGHT people in your life. The closer people get to us, the more influence they have in our lives. We have to be careful who we allow into our inner-circle. The best way to make sure you have the right people around you is to tell them that you’re seeking God’s approval in your life, not theirs. Watch for their response to your statement about seeking God first:
- If they think that’s stupid, keep your distance.
- If they instantly believe they know exactly what you need to do to achieve that goal, keep your distance.
- But, if they accept your desire for God first, let them get closer to you.
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak. Not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. – 1 Thessalonians 2:4
Let’s each decide to seek God’s approval above the approval of men so we can continue to walk in His calling and fulfill the purpose that He has for our lives. You may be rejected by some, but if you are accepted by the One, you have all you need. Stay faithful and seek God’s approval above man’s approval. As a result, you’ll step more into the purpose that God has for your life.