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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 8:17 pm | Fair 47º


Jim Langley: Are You Seeking Approval?

My Dad started grooming me for a major league baseball career at a very early age. I remember playing ball in our back yard at Randolph Air Force Base outside San Antonio as a 3 year old.

Eight years later, he had transformed me into a switch-hitting second baseman on a Babe Ruth League team that won our championship. Yes, he coached the team as well.

I loved the attention my Dad gave me and I worked very hard to get better in pleasing him and seeking his approval. My Dad was by far my biggest fan in those days, but he also pushed me, and through it all I developed a strong work ethic that would come in handy later in my business life.

By the way, I burned out on baseball after graduating from college. To this day, I still covet approval of others in whatever I do. Seeking approval is natural in human beings. In fact, I believe we all long for the approval of others.

We are social beings with an innate desire to be part of a community. We may not want to be around a large group of people, but there are few hermits in this world, and I suspect those who do exist simply gave up on society and did not feel accepted by others. Their perceived approval rating was obviously quite low or nonexistent.

Approval ratings are important to us. Just look at the emphasis placed on the approval ratings of elected officials. Perhaps the camp of an elected official is truly concerned about future popularity and the chance for re-election, but I believe it’s more.

We naturally want to be recognized for our accomplishments. Knowing we have done our best may be enough for some, but most of us want to see and hear others applaud our effort at least.

So, can you personally relate to the approval of others motivating you to do your best in a chosen endeavor? As a long-time member of Kiwanis International, I found out very early that the greatest motivator at my grasp to get others to perform without pay was sharing recognition for their involvement in club projects. In fact, not recognizing members for their involvement can take its toll on future participation.

Certainly we can be motivated in our business endeavors for our tangible accomplishments, as well. Compensation and benefits packages are fine, but I’ve found that sharing individual and corporate accomplishments with the team pays great rewards toward future effort. So, whom do you most long to please?

There’s one person I truly long to please. My reasoning is simple. There’s no way I can repay God for all He’s done in my life. He’s the One I most want to please and receive His approval as my worldly life nears the end.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul instructs the younger Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

In Romans 12:1-2, we’re also instructed, “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

That pretty much says it all — we need to do this in view of His mercy for us!

Join me in seeking His approval most of all. The world may applaud our accomplishments, but we can’t take those trophies with us. They will all be left behind, since they have no value in His eyes.

Passages to Ponder

» Judges 18:5-6

» Ecclesiastes 2:26

» John 6:27

» Romans 14:22-23

» 1 Thessalonians 2:4

» Hebrews 13:16

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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