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3 Signs You Might be an Approval Addict

So I ran across this video below on youtube a few weeks ago and it really got me thinking.  It really brings new meaning to the phrase “fear of man”.  Now, I don’t mean fear of man as in “I’m afraid of the bad guy”, I’m talking about where we do something (or don’t do something) because we fear our fellow man’s reaction.

It’s a constant struggle for many of us, especially if you are like me and have a high “S” personality (DISC profile).  What it boils down to is that we as humans are wired with this “herd” mentality.  We all like to be accepted by others, no one likes to feel left out.  We were created to be social creatures.  Watch the video below and you’ll see what I mean:

It’s amazing how the results change when the test person didn’t have to fear the other’s reaction, right?  I’d like to think that I would have acted differently in those situations, but to be honest I probably would have done the same thing!

But what is so wrong about wanting someone else’s approval?  Nothing!  It’s only wrong if you become addicted to it.  Take food, for example.  There’s nothing wrong with eating.  But some people crave food to the point where they are controlled by it.  An addiction is taking a normal appetite and corrupting it to where it controls you.

But how do you know whether its just a healthy appetite or an addition?  Here are 3 signs you might be an approval addict:

You take criticism personally.  If this is you, there is no such thing as “constructive criticism”.  It’s hard to move past negative comments.  You may have heard of the author and speaker Jon Acuff.  He’s written several great books and I had the privilege of hearing him speak last year.  One of the things he said was so hard for him was reading the reviews of his own books on Amazon.  I just checked and his books are still averaging about 4.5 out of 5 stars.  But he actually got to the point where he was obsessing over the rare, occasional negative review and forgetting about all the positive reviews.  That, my friends, is a sure sign of approval addiction.  He eventually realized how ridiculous it was to let these “haters” get inside his head and decided instead to glean encouragement from the positive reviews to help focus on the task at hand.  What I learned from this is that we need to decide to either learn from or ignore criticizing comments.

You fear rejection.  This is probably one of the hardest things for us humans to overcome.  Fear of rejection is paralyzing and can force us into making all kinds of bad decisions that we wouldn’t have made otherwise.  There’s a quote from Dita von Tesse that I like: “You could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there’s still going be someone that hates peaches.”  You might as well come to grips with it, not everyone is going to like you.  And that’s OK.  Don’t try to become someone else or be something you’re not.

You have a hard time saying “no”.  We’ve all been there haven’t we?  You just agreed to do something even though you didn’t really have time for it because you were afraid of what the other person would think of you if you said no.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times in life where we have to lay aside what we want to do and do something that will benefit others.  But we need keep this in balance and prioritize our time.  Even Jesus said no occasionally (see John 11:1-6 for one example) because He was focused on doing His Father’s work.  Let’s not be like the stray dog at a whistler’s convention.

Now before you start feeling all rebellious and thinking “I’m tired of people telling me what to do, it’s time to put the foot down!”, let me remind you that there are also right motives to seeking other’s approval. We need to examine the intentions behind our actions.  In Romans 12:18, Paul tells us to try to live peaceably with each other.  Ephesians 5:21 he tells us to submit to one another.  And in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul talks about how he gave up some of his rights for the sake of the brotherhood.  If any of these are your intentions behind doing or not doing something, then you are not an approval addict.  An approval addict always has selfish motives: How will this make me look?  How can I benefit from this?  What’s in it for me?

I am challenged by Paul’s attitude in Galatians 1:10: “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (NLT)  Being a servant of Christ often forces us to make decisions that might not mesh well with popular opinion.  Let’s be light to those around us and take a stand for truth. Live as though God’s opinion is the only one that matters!

 

 

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

4 Myths from a Cat Theologist

For those of you who don’t know what cat and dog theology is, it comes from a joke about cat and dogs: A dog says “These people feed me, shelter me, and love me.  They must be God!”  A cat says “These people feed me, shelter me, and love me.  I must be God!”.  They both have the same information, but they process it differently.  It may be funny, but provides a unique way of how we perceive our relationship with God.  

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Here are 4 common myths that are being spread by cat theologists:

The main reason Christ came to earth was to save me.  We tend to think exclusively of the cross with how it affects our own lives.  We preach and sing about how Christ died for us.  We idolize verses like John 3:16.  Don’t get me wrong it’s absolutely true that Christ died for our sins, but that is only secondary.  It is a byproduct, not the main reason.  Jesus died first of all for God.  In John 17:4, He came into the world to glorify God.  In John 7:18, He came seeking the glory of the One who sent Him.  In John 12:27-28 He speaks of the cross as a means with which he will glorify God.  This truth is repeated again and again in the book of John.  Everything in Scripture points to God’s glory, even Jesus’ death on the cross.

God’s desire is for me to experience blessings and prosperity on this earth.  Many treat God as if he is simply there to cater to our every wish as we ask it.  Since we are God’s children, we think that we deserve the biggest and the best.  Surely God’s first class treatment of us would bring Him Glory would it not?  This is known as the “health and wealth gospel”, and it is very cat-like.  People of this gospel will say things like “The reason you haven’t been healed yet is because you don’t have enough faith” or “We don’t have to wait for God’s blessing in the life to come, He’ll give it to us here and now”.  Scripture as a whole however, has a very different view.  There are many verses and case studies that speak about Bible characters that suffered trials and tribulations.  Does God want to bless us?  Yes!  But He doesn’t wants His blessings to take priority over His glory.

The definition of my salvation is that I’m not going to Hell.  There is only one way to Heaven, but many reasons for wanting to go there.  Cats walk backwards.  They are moving towards Heaven, but are focused only on Hell.  It’s a good start, but far short of what God wants from us.  Their focus again is only on themselves.  A Cat’s salvation is basically just fire insurance.  There is a big difference in being saved from something rather than for something.

Worship is about thanking God for what He has done for me.  Now it’s not wrong to worship and praise God for what He has done for you, but it shouldn’t stop there.  Cat’s favorite songs have a lot of me’s, my’s, and I’s in them.  They worship only at specific times such as their devotional time or on Sunday morning.  They make a distinction between worship time and regular life.  Cat’s are even selfish with their prayer time.  Most of their prayers focus on blessings for them and other things that will make their life more comfortable.

The point I’m trying to make is that cat theology is not incorrect, but it is incomplete.  God’s glory is all around us and he wants us to be totally sold out for Him.  In God’s eyes, life is supposed to be one big worship service with everything revolving around Him and bringing Him glory.  But unfortunately, cat theology has slyly turned things around so that now there are Christians that are worshiping themselves without even realizing it!

May this be our prayer to correct those cat-like tendencies in our life: Lord, help me to look at your face and delight being in your presence rather than at your hands to see what you will give me! Amen.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Defend the Truth

How do you respond when someone mocks your faith?  Even if its just something subtle.  Do you simply shrug it off and think “Oh well, I guess he’s going to hell”?  Or do you confront them?

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This is not a time to be passive.  I’ll admit, I’m not the type of person that likes conflict.  But when it comes to defending truth, we need to speak up and defend it.  We need to take action.  If you don’t believe me, just read Matthew 21 where Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple.  Or read Jude 3: ….I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”  The word contend means “to fight” or “to struggle” intensely.  The Greek athletes used this verb to express how they would exert themselves to the point of agony in an effort to win the contest.  That is the level of intensity with which we need to defend God’s Truth.

We cannot contend for that which we do not love.  People are willing to fight and die for that which they love.  Americans march off to war because of their love of liberty.  Many of the early Christians were willing to be tortured and die as martyrs because of their beliefs.  I would die for my wife and kids because I love them.  So the first step in contending for the truth is to develop that kind of love for God’s Word.

We must speak the truth in love.  It’s important to add that while we are contending for the faith, we must not be contentious as Paul warns us about in Ephesians 4:15.  We will fail to contend for the faith if we have a bitter, hateful, or arrogant spirit.  Unfortunately there are many of us Christians who speak the truth, but not in love.  This is sometimes where we confuse boldness with harshness.  Boldness is the willingness to say what people need to hear even though its painful.  Harshness, on the other hand, has little to do with conviction or concern for people.

We must know the faith.  Has anyone ever asked you to look up a verse in the book of Hezekiah?  You flip through your Bible only to find out that it doesn’t exist.  That’s a little embarrassing because it shows how little you know God’s Word.  I Peter 3:15 tells us that we need to always be ready to give an answer.  Think of a defense attorney preparing for his final presentation in court.  Each day he will work painstakingly into the night.  Every word, every expression is carefully measured.  He analyzes every possible scenario knowing that the fate of his client is in his hand.  

That my friends, is the level of preparation and knowledge of God’s Word that we need to have.  And when someone ridicules the Truth or even when asked why we choose to live our lives this way, we need to be ready with an answer.  Just like that defense attorney is ready to stand before the court.  

Your answer could be the difference between life and death for the inquisitor! 

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Your Grace is Enough

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My 3 year old, Logan, loves Veggie Tales.  Every time we get in the car to go somewhere its, “I wanna listen to Bob the Tomato grace is enough!”.  They have a praise CD that we listen to quite a bit, and one of the songs Logan always requests is  “Your Grace is Enough” by Chris Tomlin.  It’s a great song that talks about God’s unmerited favor to us and how nothing can separate us from His love.

But I’d like to look at this phrase “your grace is enough” from a different angle.  Most times we think of this as meaning that God’s grace is enough to save us, there is nothing we need do to earn our salvation.  So we know that God’s grace is enough for God, but the question I would like to ask is this: Is God’s grace enough for you ?  Or do you think that you are entitled to more?  Read II Corinthians and see if you can follow my train of thought here.  This is the account where Paul pleaded with God to remove his thorn in the flesh: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  

You know, that’s something that just doesn’t make sense to a finite human being like me.  I don’t know what exactly Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, but don’t you think Paul could have been even more effective as a missionary and evangelist if he didn’t have to deal with this?  From man’s viewpoint it seems as though he would have.  And yet God chose not to remove it, even though Paul pleaded with Him three times.

And not only do I find myself expecting God to remove my infirmities, but sometimes I also think that He needs to remove the consequences for my sin as well.  Now God’s grace has freed me from eternal damnation, the ultimate penalty for our sin.  But is it reasonable to think that I am entitled to be removed from the consequences of a past sin while here on earth?  The Bible is clear on this, read Galations 6:7: Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  I believe that there are times in our life where the consequences of a bad choice we’ve made lives on even though grace has been extended and received.  Despite the forgiveness of God and others, the consequences must still be dealt with.

We’ve probably all heard the questions, why does God choose to heal some people but not others?  And why do bad things happen to good people?  I don’t know the answers to these questions.  The only explanation I can come up with is that we live in a fallen, messed up world.  It doesn’t seem fair that some people get all the breaks and some go through trial after trial.  But we need to remember that sometimes God chooses to reveal these answers and sometimes we just won’t know why this side of Heaven.  Keep in mind that we are only looking in a dirty mirror, but one day we will see God face to face and see things clearly.

But in the meantime, God has given us this awesome promise: My grace is sufficient for you!  God’s grace truly is enough and consequences that we may suffer because of sin are NOT a sign of a lack of grace.  God really does promise to carry our burden and walk with us no matter what we are struggling with.  Don’t be angry at God if you are still dealing with consequences from your “old man life” or if trials in life have you down.  Praise Him in this storm and try to see these things as an opportunity to bring glory to God!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Has Fear Become a Four Letter Word?

I’ve been hearing a lot recently about the subject of fear, especially with how it relates to a Christian.  There are a lot of headlines out there about how to “punch fear in the face”, and how that “fear constipates faith”, and so on.  It seems as though fear has become a bad word in today’s Christian circles.

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That’s all well and good, but let’s not be so quick to jump completely on that bandwagon.  We need to remember that there is also a good kind of fear: the fear of God.  This subject is not something we hear much teaching on.  Honestly, when was the last time you heard someone speak on this subject?  Are there any books out there that you can think of off the top of your head that have to do with the fear of God?

So what exactly is this fear of God and how does it fit in with all these anti-fear messages out there?  Most people will say that the fear of God is simply a respect and reverence for God.  I agree, but i think the meaning goes much deeper than that.

Reading Romans 3 really got me thinking about this subject.  It talks about sin and the corruption of the human race.  Verse 18 says “They have no fear of God at all”.  When you think about this, it makes sense.  At the root of every sin is this common denominator: no fear of God.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all discrediting those who preach about the limiting factor of fear and how it can hinder your Christian life.  They are absolutely right.  But take a look around you and ask yourself: Which is the bigger problem in society and even in Christian circles today?  Is it fear?  Or is it a lack of fear?

But to have the fear of God doesn’t mean that we cower in terror before God either.  He’s not up there with a big stick ready to whack us when we sin.  I’d like to compare it to the relationship between me and my dog Baxter.  Baxter has a tremendous amount of love and respect for me and would do anything for my approval.  He has a fear of offending me not because he fears punishment or torture, but because he is afraid of displeasing me, the source of his security and love.  So a better definition of the fear of God would be a “wholesome dread of displeasing Him”.  A God-fearing person is not necessarily afraid of God, but afraid of “what have I done to offend Him?”

Psalm 27:1-2 are well known verses that really tie in the subject of fear with the fear of God: “The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should i be afraid?  The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should i tremble?”  What these verses say to me is that when you fear God, you will fear nothing else!  What a powerful way to live!

What does the fear of God mean to you and how does it apply to our everyday life?
 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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