A Winning Approval


“Mommy, look at me!  Watch this!” My son yells to me as he swings from the monkey bars.  I look away for one quick second during his “performance.”  “Mommy you didn’t watch!”  So, this time I lock my eyes on what he is about to do and try to not even blink.  He does a flip.  “Great job, Jack! That was awesome!”  I praise.  

Our children love for us to see them.  They want to know we are watching and that what they are doing is just the best thing we have ever seen in our whole life!  Any parent knows this, has experienced this. But, I think we can do the same thing with each other even as grown ups.

We want to be noticed by others. We want to be praised by others for the things we do. When we are not, our feeling are hurt. We may even become bitter because others seem to be getting all the praise. Or, we just quit the things we are doing because no one seems to care or notice.

Paul writes these words in Galatians,For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

I like the VOICE translation of Paul’s words from Galatians 1:10,  “Do you think I care about the approval of men or about the approval of God? Do you think I am on a mission to please people? If I am still spinning my wheels trying to please men, then there is no way I can be a servant of the Anointed One, the Liberating King.”

“Spinning my wheels” – I think that is a great image of what it is like to always try please others. People can be hard to please. Sometimes we do a good job of pleasing others. Other times, seems like we can’t do one thing to win others approval.  So, we get nowhere. Paul’s words caution us that this mindset makes it hard to be a servant of Christ.  

Paul goes on in his letter to the Galatians to share that God chose him to be His servant and had a  unique plan for him.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,  was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles” (Galatians 1:15-16)

God chose you too! Paul also writes these words in Ephesians,”even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  (Ephesians 1:4 )

The author of Hebrews tells us that God will help us to do great things and that He will notice and be pleased.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)

We want to do great things, big things for God.  But sometimes we can get distracted while doing those great things and begin “spinning our wheels” by trying to do it for others. That is why I love this verse from Hebrews 13.  It reminds us that God sees us.  He sees the things we do and He is pleased. Our Heavenly Father never takes His eye off of us.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” (1 Peter 5:6)  

five-habitsRight now, I am studying Nicki Koziarz’s book 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit. She says, “Humility is a must for those who want to honor God with their lives. It’s the place where God is able to lift us up and take us to the places He has already ordained for us.” (Koziarz, 79)

During times when it feels like no one is noticing your efforts, choose humility. Nicki also shares this about humility:

“Humility says: ‘Lord, I know the glory is on the floor. If no one but You sees this act of obedience right now,  I’m okay with it.”  (Koziarz, 94)

I will admit, this is much easier said than done. It means trusting God despite how we feel and following through with our commitments. (Habit number two from Nicki’s book by the way.)  When we do, God has promised He will see our efforts and that He will lift us up in His perfect time. If someone does need to see our efforts, God will make sure our efforts are noticed.

In his Think to Change: Rest message, Jeff shared that we can rest from our attempts to impress others when we believe we are made in His image and live to seek Him and His kingdom and righteousness.  So the next time you are tempted to think, no one cares, remember, your Heavenly Father cares and sees.  

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)


Thank You that You see us, that You delight in the things we do.  Remind us of that when it feels like no one else notices.  Help us to remember that You have promised to lift us up.  And help us to persevere in doing those things that are pleasing in Your sight.


Ladies, If you want to discover more about The 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit, join us Friday mornings from 10-11:30 am this summer.  We meet at the Ministry Center and would love to have you!  Find out more here.