Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Approval

This is a repost from Competent Counseling.

We have an approval drive

All people have a desire to be approved or accepted by another person. This is how we were wired. Part of being made in the image of God means we were built for community, built for others.

God the ultimate, eternal community of Father, Son, and Spirit has always enjoyed a reciprocal, mutually benefiting relationship with each other.

It makes sense that when he created man, a desire for community was a natural part of man's make-up. Prior to man's fall in the garden of Eden, this was a good thing. Man loved God and enjoyed a reciprocal relationship with God.

Then Man Fell Down

But man sinned in the Garden and things have not been right since. While man's desire for community has not changed, the way he approaches community has changed radically. His fall in the Garden had consequences and one of those dark consequences was the realization that he was broken inside.

Intuitively man knows this brokenness has something to do with a relationship that he needs. But he typically does not see that the relationship he needs is a restored relationship with God. He needs God's forgiveness and acceptance, which can only come through a relationship with Christ. His built-in desire for approval is completely satisfied in Christ alone. Sadly, in his twisted thinking, he makes two major mistakes:
1.       He seeks fulfillment in human relationships rather than a relationship with God
2.       He seeks human relationships which primarily serve him

As a sinner, man became a user or taker rather than a giver. Like a drug addict, the relationship is only as good as what he can get out of it.

I need something from you. What do you have to offer? If I like what you have to offer, I will be your friend. When I am tired of what you are offering, I will go to the next relationship.

Apart from being affected by the Gospel, sinner man builds most of his relationships this way. Unless the Gospel becomes the primary motivator to man's thinking, man will end his life with a string of broken and/or fractured relationships. Only the Gospel can give us a right perspective on community and how to build properly with each other inside that community.

Reflective Questions
1.       Do you need people? (Whatever it is that you need, will control you.)
2.       Are you controlled by people? ...by their opinion of you? ...by their rejection of you? ...by their praise of you?
3.       Does the Gospel motivate how you build with others? Do you build relationally with others because of your desire to emulate Christ: he came to serve, rather than to be served? (Mark 10:45)
4.       Have you experienced the benefits of selfless giving? What are some of these benefits that you have experienced in your life?
5.       Whose approval matters the most to you? ...God? ...or others?