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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Approval Games

"Your approval means nothing to Me, because I know you don't have God's love within you." - John 5:41-42 NLT

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During one of my quiet times with the Lord recently, He began teaching me and warning me about seeking approval from the wrong people. When He led me to the verses above, I rejoiced when I read Jesus' words saying, "Your approval means nothing to Me, because I know you don't have God's love within you." (John 5:41-42 NLT) He showed me that when I try to win the approval of people who don't truly love God - who aren't living their lives to please Him - then I am sinning against Him, and I will suffer the consequences.

The truth is that we cannot walk closely with the Lord when we are walking in agreement with people who are opposed to God and His Word - people who don't seek His will when they make decisions for themselves and others. If I am in close relationship with them, their choices will affect me, and are bound to do me harm.

In this same passage of Scripture, Jesus says, "How can you believe [in Me], when you [seek and] receive glory and approval from one another, and yet you do not seek the glory and approval which comes from the one and only God?" (John 5:44 AMP) People who have no love for God will care more about receiving praise from other people than from Him, and they will live their lives for the approval of others. If we are not careful, we can easily get caught up in their "approval games," as I like to call them. I also like to say that these people suffer from the "look how wonderful I am" syndrome. Everything is all about THEM, and God has no room in their hearts or in their lives.

Here's the thing: These people are destined to make bad decisions on a regular basis because they have no reverence or respect for God. As Proverbs 9:10 (NLT) says: "Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment." And if we are in close relationship with these foolish folks, their poor decisions will spell disaster for us, as well as for themselves and others. This is not God's best for His devoted ones like you and me.

Jesus said, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God's sight." (Luke 16:15 NIV) Some people are masters at fooling others into thinking that they are good and right, and that their motives are pure, but they cannot fool the God Who detests the things they hold in high esteem - including money, power, prestige, and promotion that do not come from Him. And they are destined to reap what they sow. (Galatians 6:7-8)

When we are tempted to seek approval from the wrong people, we should adopt the Master's mindset which says, "Your approval or disapproval means nothing to Me, for as I know so well, you don't have God's love within you." (John 5:41-42 TLB) And we should continually "make it our goal to please [God]." (2 Corinthians 5:9 NIV) When our focus is right, our "honor and reward" will come from God Himself! (John 12:26 MSG)

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times when I cared more about receiving approval and honor from others, instead of You. Deliver me from pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness, and from everything that would separate me from You and Your perfect plans for me. Fill me with divine discernment that will help me to see people as they really are, and don't let me be fooled by those who would use or abuse me. Help me to imitate You in that "You do not care about anyone's opinion, for You are not swayed by appearances." (Matthew 22:16 ESV) Thank You that as I focus on pleasing and glorifying You in all I do, I will live a life of purpose and abundance!

- J. M. Farro


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