For weeks I’ve been unable to shake a comment I heard on talk radio. Rush Limbaugh, “on loan from God (so he says)” with some sense of sincerity said that he wished he could give all of his friends the gift of “not caring about what others think.” He, of course, doesn’t struggle with approval (or so he says) BUT, what struck me squarely between the eyes is the fact that I’ve been given the gift of God’s approval, through Jesus Christ, who is the one and only source of God’s approval. In the grand scheme of life and death and eternity, His approval is the only thing that matters.
Nearly every day I fight the Idol of Approval. Did I do well enough in class to gain the respect of my professor? Am I doing as well as the kid sitting next to me? Will Bob be frustrated with me if I don’t perform in school? Do the women in my small group think highly of me? Do I dress trendy enough, is my hair styled the right way? If I park in the spot closest to the door will my neighbor dislike me? Does the other neighbor think I’m weird?
I may not have an idol carved from wood placed carefully on a shelf to remind me to worship approval. I wouldn’t be so obvious, instead I kick it around. I try to hide it, but it’s there tempting me and my thoughts – especially my thoughts. It comes easily for me, and I hate it.
Why do we care what other people think? Why isn’t enough to know that God Himself loves us? Well, we have to face it, we are at our very core narcissistic, shrink-wrapped in self, the kings and queens of our domain. It’s the natural way we lean, it’s proof positive that we are sinful.
I hate to admit it, but I’m convinced the Lord used Rush Limbaugh (of all people) to rattle my self-centered cage. As a child of God I have every reason to rid myself of the idol of approval. Rush Limbaugh can’t ever give anyone that gift, but Jesus can and did because he deserves 100% of my worship.
So, I confessed my sin, again. Then, I’ve begun to simply replace the lies with the truth. I’ve been taking my thoughts captive instead of letting them dominate. So, when I start clenching my teeth, obsessing about something I said or did, replaying conversations in my head – I start reciting Scripture. Trading the lie for the truth…the truth about me in Christ, but more importantly, the truth about Him and who He is. Can I say – it has made a huge difference. Scripture sets my mind on Him, which brings relief and freedom.
He alone is worthy of all worship, and glory, and honor, and praise.
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together. (Colossians 1:15-17 NLT)
He toppled the idol at the cross.