Do you live under a burden of guilt and condemnation…feeling unrighteous, unworthy, and insecure? Are you a people-pleaser, always looking for the approval of others?
If the answer to any of these is yes, then God wants to help you move beyond those feelings. Why? Because they not only affect your personal relationships, but also your prayer life and your ability to be promoted. And I can tell you from personal experience, they certainly steal your joy and your peace—and that is not God's will for you or anyone else.
I believe there are two states that can cause us to desire the approval of people: being emotionally wounded and being caught in a pit of self-pity.
Wounds That Won’t Heal
Because I grew up in an environment of sexual and verbal abuse, I thought I was wounded beyond healing. Worse, I projected the personality of my earthly father onto God and was sure that, like my father, God was impossible to please.
If you have been hurt and wounded by people who were difficult to please, you may think God is the same way. He isn't! It is not as difficult to please God as we may think. Simple, childlike faith pleases Him. He already knows we will not behave perfectly all the time. That is why He sent Jesus to pay for our failures and mistakes.
God has no problem with the knowledge of what we lack; we are the ones who have problems with it. We often find it difficult to admit to ourselves or anyone else that we are anything less than perfect.
Remember, God is not surprised by your inabilities, your imperfections, or your faults. He has always known everything about you and He chose you on purpose for Himself.
Once we understand how God sees us through Christ, we can refrain from being oversensitive to what people think about us, and feeling bad about ourselves. We don't have to be addicted to their approval, because we already have God's approval!
Self-pity: The Self-curse
When we’re living to try to please others, we see our weaknesses as “curses.” They’re the things in our lives that we just can’t do anything about and will surely be our downfall in the end. It’s easy to see how this way of thinking can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The cure for this is simple: Give God not only what you are but especially give Him what you are not. It is easy to offer Him our strengths, but we should also offer Him our weaknesses because His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.
The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "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 NIV. Don't hold anything back; give God everything!
For years, I struggled with guilt and condemnation…and feeling like I had to "pay" for my sins by feeling bad about myself. If it was a "little" sin, I might feel bad for a few days. But if I really blew it, it would send me on a two-week guilt trip.
During one of these particularly bad episodes, the Lord spoke to my heart and asked, Joyce, do you believe the blood of my Son Jesus paid the price for your sins? I said, Yes, I do. He replied, Well, if you plan on receiving this forgiveness two weeks from now, why don't you just receive it now and begin enjoying your life again?
I learned that feeling guilty over my weaknesses doesn’t accomplish one single thing! I don't believe I have to add my guilt to His sacrifice. His sacrifice was complete and perfect, and no work of my flesh can improve what He has done.