For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel.  For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. -- (Galatians 1:10-12 ESV)
In November of 2015, the sermon series "JoyKill" walked us through four root idols that rob us of the great joy and satisfaction that the Lord has for us. Many of us struggle with the idol of approval. These are three characteristics typical of those who struggle with the approval idol:
- Your greatest nightmare: Rejection
- People around you often feel: Smothered
- Your problem emotion: Cowardice
The apostle Paul says, "If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Though a tough truth, we cannot choose to please man and Christ. We must choose. Awkward conversations, confrontation, and conflict are often necessary elements not only in our growth, but in the growth of others around us.
Do you have areas of your life where you are simply trying to please man? Do you greatly fear the negative opinion of those around you? We don't want to be cantankerous or insensitive, but we all have tough necessary conversations that will move ourselves and others toward Jesus.
I'm thankful that Paul wasn't motivated by the approval of the Galatian church. His gospel was not of man, but from a revelation of Jesus. We have been given much in Christ. Our identity is not rooted in the approval of others, but in our adoption into God's family. We are His children, loved and affirmed by Him, and bought with the blood of Christ. Serve Jesus today, and not your fears.
 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:10 ESV)