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More Free than I Knew I Could Be: Free From the Approval of Man

As soon as I began my worship time this morning, I felt so free. More free than I ever knew I could be. I began to thank God for this growing sense of freedom, realizing that in a large part the freedom I was feeling was a freedom from the approval of man.

I will not subject anyone to a recount of the trials of the last couple of years, but I can say that God doesn’t waste anything we go through. He works all things together for good to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28). God worked in me through all of the “stuff” to truly set me free from the need or desire for the approval of man. Don’t get me wrong. I still like it when people like me, like what I’m doing, or like what I am saying. We are called to encourage one another and build one another up. (1 Thess. 5:11, Hebrews 10:25) When a fellow believer encourages me its…well, encouraging. On the other hand, when a fellow believer dislikes me or misinterprets my words or actions, it still hurts. Being free from the approval of man doesn’t mean that we don’t feel anything when the people we love or have invested in no longer want relationship with us, or worse yet speak against us. What it does mean is that the choices I make are truly not persuaded by whether people will praise or criticize me. Likewise, my attitude and mood is not based on whether people receive me, like me or understand me. How amazingly free this makes me!

All of this came before I even read our church’s Bible verse of the day. When I read it, it confirmed for me that God was highlighting this for me today. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 “…Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” Not as pleasing men, but God. That’s the place to be. Verse 6 goes on to say, “…nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others…”

I still desire to reach others, bless and encourage them. Freedom from the approval of men isn’t some sort of rebellious attitude that just says, “I could care less what they think.” It is a freedom to serve God and minister to others whether they receive us or not. It is the freedom to do something for someone and be rejected or misunderstood by them and still be glad you acted on what God put in your heart. It is the freedom to keep our eyes on the approval of God and be led by an intimate relationship with a loving Lord who has already “…blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…” (Ephesians 1:3)

I am so thankful for freedom today!

P.S. Here I am an hour later and still thinking about this freedom. I wanted to add it is also being free from the need to defend my reputation or justify my choices to others. I'm not talking about justifying sin or offenses, but those choices others don't understand or agree with. If I have relationship with a person, I certainly will do the best to explain my decsions or help that person to understand because I value their input and prayers. This is totally different than the need to defend myself. Yay God for this freedom!

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