Life pulls and tugs at us. It yanks us in all directions. Culture and advertising tell us who we should be. The world tells us how to dress, how to live, who to follow on Twitter. We told over and over who to listen to, what books to read, what movies to see. Through school we’re taught to impress others through our merits and our own ways. We’re taught to be the best, do the best, and get to the top as quickly as possible. This is what I call the American Nightmare instead of the American Dream.
We are so accustomed to impressing people with things, money, clothing, whatever—that we actually because consumed with it. We being living our lives for others. We constantly want to please everyone. We become “yes” men and women, doing whatever we have to, to impress and accelerate our future.
In my life I have to admit that for a while I had become a slave to this. I wanted to please everyone. I wanted to make everybody happy. I wanted to be liked by all people. I loaded myself down with things, said “no” to no one, and as a result I became burnt-out. This really hit me when I realized that living this way is a self-imposed slavery to someone or something else. It begins to consume your life. You begin to live by other expectations of you, others opinions on how you should do things or live. Well, church, it’s time to say, “No more!”
In the Book of Galatians, Paul starts out asking, “Why are you following another gospel? If somebody says there is another one they’re lying! Again, don’t listen to another gospel; it will only end badly!” (1:1-9, my paraphrase). Paul then says something that totally rocked my life and changed the way I think about who to impress. He writes,
“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” (1:10).
Say what? Hold up! Does that say what we think it does? ABSOLUTELY!
Paul shows us that we’re supposed to impress somebody, to gain approval from somebody. However, it is far different that what we think. We are to live for, give to, impress, and get the approval of God only! Do you understand the magnitude of this? Can you grasp this concept? This might be the most liberating thing you can hear right now! You don’t have to impress or get the approval of anyone or anything except our Father in Heaven!
Wow! This is a game-changer! This is freedom in Christ (which Paul speaks about in Galatians 5), this is our declaration of dependence on God! This is where life was truly meant to be lived! I don’t have to answer to anybody but God! I don’t have to impress anyone except God (who, by the way knows the real me and isn’t impressed). I am free from the vicious cycle of people-pleasing, approval seeking, and yes man-ing that the would tries to shackle me to.
My challenge to you is this: do you have higher expectations of brothers and sisters because you expect them to win your approval or impress you? Do you feel that somebody has those expectations of you? Let go! Stop trying. Let the Spirit move and breath in your life and help you realize that your true freedom in Christ isn’t based on what others think! It’s based on your Father, who gave everything to show you His infinite, unfathomable love and mercy. He showed it on the cross when Jesus died. He showed it in the Resurrection of Christ! He shows us every single day that we are His and He is ours. We only need to seek the approval of God—NOONE else, ever! Just something the think about. – Scott