Living in the approval of God is so liberating! It frees you from "approval addiction" - worrying about what other people think. When you are addicted, no matter how much of your drug of choice you get it is never enough. And like junkies, you go crazy when your drug is withheld. Approval addicts are always at the mercy of other people's opinions. As a result their lives become an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows.
Paul was free to speak the truth in love: to confront people, or be gentle with them. When someone told Paul they did not like him, he did not lose sleep over it. That is because his life was not built upon their approval. "We have been approved by God." Paul did not go around needing to:
- Compare himself with others;
- Demonstrate his superiority;
- Impress or compete with others;
- Be the top dog or the one who is always in charge.
Living in God's approval set him free from such ulcer-inducing anxiety, and meant he could enjoy the life God called him to live.
When you are young and insecure we tend to worry about what others think of us. But as we become more mature, we realize that most of the time they were not thinking about us at all. They were too busy worrying what we thought of them! Living in God's approval frees us from all that stress. It gives us the strength to deal with criticism and conflict, because we know our identity. And our identity is this: we are God's redeemed children. And since we are accepted and approved by Him, what else matters?