Addicted to Approval?

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, NLT)

Are you familiar with the term, codependency? It is a term often used in relationship therapy, and frequently when addiction is involved. The big idea behind it is how people can establish unhealthy and dysfunctional patterns in order to keep the peace. It is a very common issue between people, but also fairly easy to work through. The key is to look below the problematic patterns into your own worth and value, magnified in a healthy relationship. This is known as mutual interdependence.

Today’s verse speaks to me, because of an addition that plagues many people: acceptance. When we crave acceptance from people, we can lose our voice, perspective, and even self. This victimizes many of us, because of the intrinsic need we have to be viewed as worthy and valuable. When we approach our life of faith this way, however, we are guilty of pleasing people and not God, who alone examines the motives of the heart. When we think of our need for interdependence, it boils down to a dependence on God who created us for the purpose of relationship and sharing His glory with all!

Thomas Merton once wrote, “Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.”  God has this compassion for you, and He wants you to have it for yourself and others. Denying yourself for the Lord is altogether different from losing yourself for the approval of people. I hope this frees you up to serve God by serving others; sharing His love with everyone; and shining His light wherever you go.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I confess I can lose myself in the approval of others. Forgive me. Help me to find that mutual interdependence you want me enjoy in connection with your love for me, and my service for you to others. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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