Honey, do I look good in this dress?
All of us are familiar with the question; we’ve probably all asked a similar one at some point in our lives. I’ll probably be saying that a few times this weekend as Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s time to bring out all those pink dresses! As much as we pretend that others’ opinions don’t matter, they do, and we’re not shy about seeking approval. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a second set of eyes on an outfit to make sure we’re leaving dressed our best. There’s certainly nothing wrong with asking peoples’ opinions on a problem or situation as you seek counsel. The Bible backs me up on this one:
“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14.
Asking for advice and wisdom is needed, especially in this age where people seem to discard any wisdom that has been passed down in favor of “progressive”, “whatever-makes-you-happy” thinking.
There’s a story in the Bible about a man named Absalom, who showed us the importance of using wisdom when seeking approval and opinions. Absalom was David’s son and had a lust for power and a burning desire to be king of Israel himself. He was constantly drawing others away from their loyalty to David by saying, “When I am king, I won’t do things like that. You can trust me”. He was very disloyal to his father, a man who was wise and had a heart for God. Absalom later had two advisors, one who was loyal to him and one who was loyal to David but hid his loyalty in order to spy on Absalom. Absalom asked the advice of the first guy, who told him to sleep with all of his father’s concubines. Then Absalom asked for the advice of the spy, who flattered him to no end. The spy used flattery to entice Absalom into making a decision that eventually cost him his life. Absalom was seeking the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
"For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." John 12:43
In this age when people are casting off restraint, going by whatever they feel and ignoring the wisdom of elders, they’re also keen on doing whatever will make them “cool” or popular in the eyes of their peers. If we’re not careful, we can fall into this same mess. Constantly changing our style or habits or speech to match the people we think are “cool” sounds like such a middle school trope, but it’s something adults do often. We see many, even in the church, who are interested in popularity and position more than purity. They will say things that they don’t mean in order to look more spiritual or more qualified. This doesn’t just happen in the church, of course, we see it in the corporate world as well. Whatever they have to say or do to go up a rung on the ladder, they’ll do it.
Whose approval are you seeking? When you dream about that new car or new house, are you imagining what people will think of you when they see it? Or are you thinking of ways it can be used to glorify God as a testimony of His faithfulness? The same goes for your children and your marriage; if you are seeking God’s approval, you will seek to do things His way. When you seek man’s approval, you cave to whatever new philosophy on marriage and parenting they throw out there. What matters more: the world’s new ideas that are based on human flesh that’s fallible and whose hearts are deceitful? Or the God-breathed, inspired Scripture? We would all say Scripture, but do our lives reflect that?
Something to think about on today.