Sunday, March 05, 2006

God's approval

The other day my minister was discussing with me my insane desire for man's approval. He said...and I've heard it many times doesn't matter what people think of you...all that matters is if God approves of what you're doing with your life. Great question, Mr. Preacher Man. My question for him was: HOW DO YOU KNOW IF GOD APPROVES OF WHAT YOU'RE DOING WITH YOUR LIFE? 'Cause this gal is clueless.


Blogger Chel said...

I'm prone to wanting approval, too, so I understand your plight. My husband, on the other hand, doesn't so much care what anyone thinks, and I've learned a lot from him. I'm better about it than I was and not as good as I should be.

I think that if you have a peace about what you're doing, then God is with you in it.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Just some thoughts Jana, not absolutes or commentaries on your life, just something to consider.

First, pray, pray, and pray some more. Listening prayer is often very helpful.

Second, I am not sure I would know the signs that God approves, but maybe you can tell if God disapproves.

If your life is in turmoil, full of strife and stress and these things can be traced to personal decisions, then maybe they are signes of living outside of God's will. And I don't suggest they are signs inflicted by God, but ramifications of living outside His will.

Again just thoughts. Not all turmoil, stress, and strife arise from living outside God's will. Often living within His will creates suffering of this type. But is not self-inflicted.

However, if you can step back, reflect on your life and see some Kingdom work getting done, then I would say that is a sign that you are living within God's will.

Knowing you just a little, I can't imagine God being unhappy with your life.


10:22 AM  
Anonymous Adam Hogan said...

I like how Tony said "pray, pray, and pray some more." This is so key, especially when you feel that you cannot pray (this seems to be where I find myself constantly).

Ultimately, I think that we need to just try our best, as this is what God sees. What's interesting to me is our need to have God's affirmation concerning the choices that we make. If we knew what met with God's approval, then where would faith and hope figure into the Christian life?

This is a question that I have pondered many times and have found a number of books helpful; hopefully others will/have found them helpful as well.

1. "Knowing God," by J.I. Packer
2. "Faith Seeking Understanding", by Daniel Migleorie
3. "Fear and Trembling", by Soren Kiekegaard (Also see "Philosophical Fragments")
4. "The Call" by Os Guiness

There are plenty of others, but I'm at work, so I just watch to see what everyone says.


12:23 PM  
Blogger J-Wild said...

That's why the prayer of Jabez is so great! If you get more stuff, then your doing it right!

Just kidding. You ask a great question. God has been absolutely clear in my life (taking us to NYC) but then curiously quite at other times (how to be a minister in NYC).

Sometimes I think that God doesn't really care about the things we think he does about our lives. But rather cares about the things we think are insignificant. I always try to look at the small things that God would want me to do, because that has always informed the big things.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

It is about relationship. God loves you as his child. You don't have to work to get his approval. You don't have to perform. Just love him and follow his Son.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

I meant to post this thought on your previous blog, about knowing God's approval...but perhaps it fits as a comment here as well.

There was a man who visited Mother Teresa, witnessed her work with the poor, and at the end of his visit, got to meet with this great woman of faith.
He begged her to answer this one question:
"Mother Teresa, please, tell me, how do I find clarity in my life? I am desperate to find clarity. And you seem to have it. How?"

She answered, "I can not answer your question. I do not have any clarity in my life. But I do have trust."

Ever since I heard that, I have been freed from that nagging feeling of needed clarity and reassurance that I am doing the "right" thing. Like a ton of bricks, I realized that I am like that man. Following God, but still peeking over my shoulder wondering if I am doing it right. And then suddenly is my relationship WITH God that will determine my decisions. So maybe I will never have that clarity, but I can walk in trust and faith, because I am in that communication with the Father who steers my course.

I don't know if I am very articulate in explaining that....but when I read your last two entries, I felt like jumping out of my chair and saying, "OH I know what you mean, friend, and I have some peace!"

And I hope you too find that peace.

with love,

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Katie said...


Well, it's your long lost cousin. I was reading your blog because of an e-mail Jenni sent me that sent me to her blog where I read a comment from you. Anyway, as a fellow member of the I-want-the-approval-of-man club, who always seeks to be 'perfect' and has often related that desire to please man with a desire to please God, I constantly must remind myself that God is alot like my mom and dad (and your mom and dad) He loves us no matter what and when we do things that he disapproves of he lets us know through discipline and even sometimes pain. Then, over and over again, I read 1 Samuel 12:22b, "The Lord was pleased to make you his own." (from the beginning of time...knowing all your sins and the strongholds Satan would have in your life). I know the Lord is pleased with you because you desire to honor Him with your life, you love Him, and it shows to others. Even when we don't get it all right... because we won't... "because he works ALL for the good of those who love Him." He loves you more and better than anyone on earth could ever love you...and there are a lot of people who love you (like me)! In my struggle with trusting that God is approving of my life, I have started praying for God to show me where I might be doing something he disapproves of in a clear way and to help my unbelief when I am doubting that he really is pleased with me. That prayer seems to be making the struggle easier.

Love you,

10:09 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Hi there. How is your struggle with this going? I stumbled across this while doing a google search. I struggle with this, too, even though I have read some great and helpful books.

2:31 PM  

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