12 May 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Appetite for Approval … Howard Stern … Works-for-Love

I counseled a woman this week who blatantly stated that she is trying to do good things so, in her mind, Jesus would forgive her for divorcing her husband. I have sensed that kind of “works mentality” before yet never so clearly.

It is a mind set all of us face to some extent at some times in our lives: how can I be more approved and therefore feel more adequate about myself?

Jim Daily of Focus on the Family had a great article about Howard Stern lately. (Yes, that Howard.) Stern confessed his obsessive need for approval. He put it this way:

The curse is I take it so seriously. I gotta know, do you think I did a good show and are you satisfied? That’s the neurosis and that’s the source of all problems for me.

Daily further quoted from a book I am going to read on this matter:

The human heart’s desire for a particular valuable object (human affirmation) may be conquered, but its need to have some such object is unconquerable. How can we break our heart’s fixation on doing “some great thing” in order to heal ourselves of our sense of inadequacy, in order to give our lives meaning? Only when we see what Jesus, our great Suffering Servant, has done for us will we finally understand why God’s salvation does not require us to do “some great thing.” We don’t have to do it, because Jesus has. from Dr. Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods

We seek approval from our peers and our Lord by doing. Oh it might be our belief that we are saved by grace; however, if I do just a bit more, how can it not get even more on His “good side”?

What helped the lady I met with was sharing a simple thought I heard long ago. (I’m full of simple thoughts!):

* you cannot do anything to make God love you any more than He does; and

* you cannot do anything to make God love you any less.

God loves you. Period. Regardless of our behavior. Get out of the works-for-love mode. While He is not wild about disobedience, He loves us. We do not serve a tolerant God, but a patient One. No one has tried His patience more than me and every time I have chosen to get back into a right, tight, close walk with Him, He is there, faithful as the first time I called on Him.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with seeking the approval of God. We all want to “make Him happy” and I get that. Just understand that His love is there. If you are a follower of Christ His love is there. Period. Always.

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