Archive for February, 2018

I was scared as I opened the letter from the doctor’s office. I thought I was getting the results of my CT Scan that would show if I had developed any new aneurisms in the past year. I was scared for it could involve more surgery or worse.

I had just read that day the way to overcome the “What ifs?” is to replace them with “So, whats?” The belief behind this statement is God works all things for our good (Romans 8:28-29). As I nervously tore open the letter, I kept repeating “So what, So what?”. I was hoping my anxiety level would be no higher than level 3, but it was closer to a 7 out of 10. It turned out not to be the report on the scan results but a change of appointment. I felt both relief and disappointment.

I spent a few minutes pondering what had just happened. I concluded I believed hearing the scan results merited a mild anxious reaction. However, my heart believed this event was a clear and present danger. My head believed if the results were bad and I would die I will go to heaven and it would be wonderful forever. I also believed if I had to go through another operation, God would give me the strength to endure.

However, my belief in my heart was different. If I were to die, it would be bad. Why? Perhaps it was a belief from childhood that death is the end of all pleasure. I also feared the possible pain would be overwhelming and my life would be miserable. No wonder I was so scared. I told the Lord we had some work to do to bring my heart beliefs into alignment with my head.

What we deeply believe largely influences our feelings- and our feelings influence our beliefs. We can’t ignore either one. We often downplay the feeling side of faith. We focus on right beliefs and don’t pay much attention to what our hearts depends on. This frequently comes to us through our screaming emotions.

So, if very afraid, we need to look at our beliefs.

  • If afraid of losing our jobs, perhaps we believe we are the provider and not God.
  • If fearful of displeasing a leader, maybe we believe our security and worth are determined by what the boss thinks and not by God.
  • If afraid of the future, we may be trusting in controlling the future and not in God doing it.

We change our feelings by changing what we trust in. Do we rely on lies or truth? We need God’s help to detect and let go of the lies many of us have clung to since childhood and embrace God’s loving presence that gives us peace and security (Psalm 139:23-24).

What is one thing you are fearing today? Ask God to help you discern what you are believing that is driving your anxiety. If it’s a lie, then ask him to help you rely on the truth. Even if it is the truth, claim his promise to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NAS).







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One of our greatest needs is to be accepted by others. Starting with our parents and then by others we have sought approval. In many cases, this is good. For example, how can we keep our jobs unless we please our boss. But this can be bad when we place too much importance on it.

Growing up, I allowed others to shape my importance by how they treated me. Their approval defined who I was. This was not healthy. I pretended to be who others wanted me to be and lost track of my true identity.

For many years, the fear of being disapproved of by certain people controlled me. I allowed one boss in particular to define my worth. However, after years of hiding my thoughts and feelings, I grew confident in what God thought of me, which was a much better human being than my boss thought. I depended on God’s approval and not the boss’. Although I was fired, I went somewhere else that was a much better fit. And there they approved of the true version of me!

Why We Seek Others Approval

We seek the approval of others because we are not seeking God’s. We make an idol out of pleasing and impressing others. “They loved the approval of men, rather than the approval of God” (John 12:43, NLT). This was God’s disapproval of the Jews who sought the rewards of acceptance instead of pleasing him. A big price to pay for the approval of people.

When we crave attention, reputation, and acceptance, we will be conformed to the ungodly world around us and fail to be transformed (Romans 12:2, NLT). Often people’s approval seems to be more real than pleasing God. But it’s not. Several years ago, I made a decision to please God by doing the right thing instead of hiding what I thought and retain the perks of conformity. I chose to be true to who I was in God’s eyes and suffered the painful rejection of the board. But I never regretted that decision for the growth and peace that it brought to me.

How We Can Choose God’s Approval

We must be transformed to choose God’s approval. We need to allow God to “take captive every thought to be obedient to Christ: (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). This will enable us to see beyond the “smoke and mirrors” of this world and picture and hear God tell us, “Well done My good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23, NLT).

This picture helps us remember that he will hold us accountable for everything we think and do in this life. But it’s to reward us. There will be no punishment. We will receive rewards for pleasing God (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

Moses looked beyond the fame and fortune of this life to gain a heavenly reward. “He valued disgrace for Christ above the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his reward” (Hebrews 11:26, BER).

May we realize that when we choose God’s approval we are resting in the truth that God already approves of us. We don’t need to please others to be accepted. It’s a waste of time. “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28, NLT). Pleasing God is far more important than impressing any other.

Rest in the reality that God approves of you because you are his child.






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