Living For the Approval of God
Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cecelia A Walker
Princeton Baptist Medical Center
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27a NLT)
For a good portion of my life, I have tried to be the person others expected me to be. To my teachers, I was the “good student”. To my parents, I was a “sweet girl”, to the leaders in my church, I was a “committed Christian”. Today, my priorities have shifted, and while I certainly try to live a life of integrity and kindness, my focus is to live a life that God approves. The truth is that no matter how hard we try, we will never be able to please all people. It is much easier to focus on pleasing God and in doing so, we will be living our best life. When we care too much about what people think about us, it is easy to miss what God thinks of us.
In his book, Be Real: Because Fake is Exhausting, Rick Bezet says, “…after years of living solely for what others thought, I met the grace of God through Christ in a real and profound new way. Instead of trying to live for the approval of others, I learned to live for the approval of God. And that new life and identity changed everything in my relationships, family and leadership.”
In the Scripture above, Paul is coaching us to run the Christian race and finish well. He basically says that in order to win the race, we have to have desire, determination and discipline. He tells us to run the race with intentions. Every Christian is in the race, so Paul commands us to run with determination. Don’t just finish the race… give God your best… run to win!
Sometimes, we feel ourselves falling behind. You may feel so far behind that you can’t catch up. Stay in the race. Keep moving. The Christian race is different from all others. There will be many winners. You are not competing against anyone else. The prize you win will never fade; it is eternal. Each of us will encounter struggles that are unique to our particular course as we strive for a specific goal. So, it comes down to this: “What’s your goal?” If the life you live pleases God, you are guaranteed to win your race.
Prayer: Dear God, In You we live, move and have our being. Thank You for loving us so much that You call us your children. You loved us before we took our first breath, and will love us forever. Help us to demonstrate our love for You in the way we live our lives, putting what you want ahead of what we or others may want. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.