A Prayer for Freedom from Living for People’s Approval
We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else. 1 Thess. 2:4-6
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety. Prov. 29:25
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s not just apostles who need freedom from living for the approval of people; it’s all of us, it’s me. We can’t serve people well if our need for affirmation or fear of rejection is greater than our love for you. I need the power of the gospel to bring greater freedom in my life from this dangerous trap. Sometimes, what people think of me has more functional power over my attitude and choices than your grace, and that’s just not right.
As I look at my relational brokenness and sin, I can see how “people pleasing” plays out in two directions. There are some people to whom I’ve given too much power to either shame me or make me. What certain people think about me means entirely too much. Their criticism can ruin a perfectly good day; or their affirmation can be an elixir for my pride.
Because the gospel is true, I can freely confess these things. Because the gospel is powerful, I have hope for change. Because the gospel is entrusted to me, I take this matter very seriously.
Lord Jesus, I don’t want to live as an “approval suck,” and I don’t want to have an indifferent, hard heart. I do want to love others as you love me—and as you love them. It’s flat-out wrong for me to give anybody the power to control me through their affirmation or their rejection. It’s because of your perfect life offered for me that I can be free from living as a poser, pretender, and performer. It’s because of your death for me on the cross that I can live with the absolute assurance of God’s everlasting approval and his steady kindness.
So, God the Holy Spirit, keep “gossiping this gospel” to my heart. Keep bearing witness with my spirit that I’m a beloved child of Abba, Father. Keep giving me the power to repent of all forms of living for the approval of people, a life-sucking snare indeed. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ liberating name.