I liked to be liked, don’t you? I mean, seriously, who doesn’t? No one runs around hoping everyone hates them. It’s just not built in our DNA, no matter who you are.
But I can also testify that wanting to be liked has probably been the greatest source of my regrets than any other thing. There seems to be a fine line between walking in love and wanting approval. If I’m after approval, it’s easy to be swayed the wrong way. If I’m walking in love, I’m also walking with God and therefore, can be led away from lies and destructive thoughts and feelings. But sometimes walking in love looks like walking away.
Take Moses for example. The Bible says,
“Faith enabled Moses to choose God’s will, for although he was raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, he refused to make that his identity, choosing instead to suffer mistreatment with the people of God. Moses preferred faith’s certainty above the momentary enjoyment of sin’s pleasures. He found his true wealth in suffering abuse for being anointed, more than in anything the world could offer him, for his eyes looked with wonder not on the immediate, but on the ultimate—faith’s great reward!” (Hebrews 11:24-26 TPT).
When you read the story of Moses in Exodus, it’s obvious he ran from Egypt out of fear after killing a man and getting caught (Exodus 2:11-15). Moses had deep regret for his sin. He was young in faith and could have easily chosen to justify his actions to keep his status. I’m taking a guess here, but there are plenty of examples of kings and royalty rationalizing sinful behavior simply because of a title. But Moses didn’t do that. He ran — away from approval.
I can’t help but see the parallel in our generation. All of these centuries later, we are no different. Maybe our sin isn’t murder, but we are all guilty of things that are contrary to God and His love. The question is, what do you do when you realize your shortcomings? Do you justify them in order to keep your status? Or do you forsake them and run to God, risking rejection from the world?
I remember hearing a minister confess to his congregation one time about the many temptations he fights on a daily basis. This minister was highly esteemed so for a moment, the people were surprised at his confession. But he went on to say how although he’s tempted, he doesn’t choose those things because he loves God MORE.
And that’s the key.
I liked being liked, but I love God more. I want affirmation and approval, but I love God more. I hate it when I miss the mark and people see my sin, but I repent and ask for forgiveness because I love God more.
Do you understand? I’m certainly not saying I’ve arrived. I fail daily. My point is that, like Moses, I’ve learned it’s better to choose “to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” (Hebrews 11:25 NKJV)
The Message Translation says, “By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff…” (Hebrews 11:25 MSG)
Does this mean life has to be hard? Absolutely not! I’ve experienced far more love, peace, and provision walking with the Creator of heaven and earth than anything the god of this world could offer me — including being liked by others.
Not everyone will understand your choices, until they meet the One your soul loves. And think about that … everyone makes choices based on the “one” their soul loves, whether it’s God or a spouse, or a girlfriend/boyfriend, or even a boss.
I want to encourage you today to reevaluate your choices. When you walk with God, you can walk away from sin and temptation. Is it easy? Not necessarily. But when you love God more than approval, you’ll find the reward is worth the temporary loss.
Copyright © 2021 Daphne Delay, used with permission.