Until you are convinced of God's incredible love for you, you will continue looking for replacement love everywhere but in the heart of Christ.
No matter where you live or work, temptation confronts you. The enemy prowls like a lion, stalking people on Wall Street, fashion runways, suburban cul-de-sacs, Facebook walls, and even gravel roads in rural Iowa. You and I are in a showdown with Satan, who will use every opportunity he can to whisper in our ears, "What are people thinking of you?"
The enemy will tell you that you're too fat, too frumpy, too stupid, too poor. He will do whatever he can to set your affections on the things of this world, instead of on Christ. And he'll wrap those accusations in glossy magazine covers if he has to.
The search for approval might lead some women to the cosmetic counter or the plastic surgeon, hoping that if only they looked better, someone they love might finally notice them. It might lead others to climb the corporate ladder in search of the respect and admiration they've longed for. Others might abandon personal convictions in favor of popularity. But what do we benefit if we gain the whole world, only to lose our own souls ()?
We get our fill, and then—poof—it is gone. For what end? Love idols rust. In a blink, this life will be over. And the popularity ratings will mean nothing on the other side of eternity. We have to ask ourselves now, starting today and every day, Whose "attagirl" am I after? Whom do I really want to say, "Well done"?
The implications are not only personal but global. If your need for more and more approval apart from God builds, it might distract you from your earthly calling entirely. You might miss what God has for you. Here's why: The Holy Spirit might nudge you to take a new job, adopt a child, move to the mission field, become a Sunday school teacher, start a Bible study, or write a book. But if you're looking over your shoulder, wondering what people think of you, you might be inclined to ignore that nudge. You might walk away from your call, your God-designed purpose for living. Because you are afraid. You fear disapproval and rejection, so you turn your back on the very mission God has called you to.
I have been guilty of ignoring nudges. I have been a modern-day Much-Afraid.
But I have also been loved and gently guided. Even as I struggled to find my truest identity in Christ, the Holy Spirit, like a consummate gentleman, escorted me straight into the Word of God.