Worldly success doesn’t necessarily indicate God’s approval. In many areas of life, God’s standards are at variance with humanity’s. Don’t just follow the crowd, realise that you must give account to God for what you do (Rom 14:12). Seek God’s approval of commendation and praise by living uprightly before Him rather than needing the acceptance of humans, and doing what is contrary to God’s standards (Act 5:29). The Pharisees craved the favour and praise of men rather than of God (Jn 14:43).

God delights in people whose hearts are open and yielded, who walk uprightly before Him because they discern correctly and are filled with the fruit of righteousness so bringing glory to Him (Mic 6:8; Phil 1:10). “Do your best to present yourself to God, as one approved, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).

To have another’s approval means we have diligently done what was asked or expected of us, being good stewards of what has been entrusted to us (Mt 25:14-30). “We have only done our duty” requires a clear understanding of another’s desires (Lk 17:10). If we are ‘giving the orders’ it is our responsibility to clearly explain what is expected –

Am I as quick to voice my approval, as I am to criticise?

demonstrating, giving instruction, advice and feedback. Regularly monitor your efforts to ensure they are acceptable and up to standard, even asking ‘Is this OK?’ Be prepared to accept correction and amend your ways. Even if what another person has done is not up to your standard, if they have done it to the best of their ability, give positive encouraging feedback. This will persuade them to try again while negative criticism might mean they give up.

While we should endeavour to do what pleases others and be ‘other focused’, we must not violate the Lord’s commands or compromise our principles. Sometimes we have to take a stand on issues. Jesus said, “I always do those things that please the Father” (Jn 8:29). No wonder God said of Jesus, “with Him I am well pleased” (Mt 17:5). If we do what God wants we will bring Him joy and glory besides receiving the commendation “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:21).

See also: accept/acceptance, commendation, compromise, examine, obedience, others, peer pressure, success.

Copyright © 2022 Bible Dictionary. All rights reserved. Website design by fuel.