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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Key to Managing Stress: Whose Approval Are I Living For?

In review of John 5:30 it says, “I am not trying to do what I want, but only what [my Father] who sent me wants” (GNT).

Today’s verse comes from John 5:24-30. In it I learn that those who listen to Jesus message and believe in God who sent him will have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. For the Father has granted his Son life-giving power. He has also given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man. A time is coming when all the dead in their graves (the spiritually dead who hear, understand, and then accept him) will hear the voice of God's Son, and they will rise again. Those who accept him will rise to experience eternal life, and those who continue in evil will rise to experience judgment. Most importantly, Jesus does nothing on his own. He judges and does as God tells him. Therefore, his judgment is just, because he carries out the will of the one who sent him, not his own.

God’s Word tells me over and over again that those who accept Jesus, the Word, will have eternal life. Those who have rebelled against Christ will be resurrected as well, but they will hear God's judgment against them and be sentenced to eternity apart from him. There are those who wish to live well on earth, ignore God, and then see death as final rest. Jesus does not allow unbelieving people to see death as the end of it all.

What I find in this life is that I can’t please everyone. It’s one of the great truths of life. If I please group A, group B will be upset at me. And if I please group B, I’ll upset group A. One minute I’m a hero; the next minute I’m a zero.

Even God can’t please everyone. Think of all the sporting events where people on both sides pray for a win. Only one team can win the game. One person prays for rain. Another prays for snow. Only one gets their prayer answered.

If God can’t please every person, it’s foolish for me to try. If I don’t know whose approval I’m living for, stress will always follow me.

Jesus models this for me. I’m investigating Jesus’ seven principles of handling stress. Yesterday, I dug into the Principle of Identification. Next up is the Principle of Motivation. I must know what, and more importantly whose approval, I’m living for.

Jesus showed me this in John 5:30 when he said: “I am not trying to do what I want, but only what [my Father] who sent me wants” (GNT).

Jesus wasn’t trying to win a popularity contest. He lived for an audience of one. He had a simple life in many ways. He just did what God put him on Earth to do.

Jesus never let approval or rejection of others control him. It’s part of the reason he lived without stress.

In fact, Jesus reminds us in Luke 16:13, “No one can serve two masters” (NLT). I can’t live for the approval of others and live for God’s approval at the same time.

So whose approval I am living for?

Bottom Line:
Jesus only does as the Father tells him. What he does is to please the Father and not himself.

What this means to me:
Jesus does nothing on his own. He judges as God tells him. Therefore, his judgement is just, because he seeks not to please himself, but the one who sent him. Likewise my life should be about not doing what I want but rather doing what pleases God.

In summary, I can't please everyone. Even God couldn't please everyone. If God can't please every person, it's foolish for me to try. So, in my life, if I don't know whose approval I'm living for, stress will follow me. I must know what, and more importantly whose approval, I'm living for. Jesus had a simple life. He just did what God put him on Earth to do. Jesus never let approval or rejection of others control him. I can't live for the approval of others and live for God's approval at the same time.

Today, I need to remember that I can’t please everyone. My goal should be to please God and do what he wants me to do. His approval is what I should be seeking. This morning Father I ask for you assistance in remembering this and more importantly putting it into practice. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance in what I do, how I lead and how I interact with others. In your Son Jesus name I pray, amen!

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