Seeking approval of others means we aren’t pleasing God

Published 8:27 am Monday, December 11, 2023

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: I like being popular but in order to have a lot of friends, I have to consent to doing things I really don’t want to do. My grandma tells me that the Bible has all the answers. Where are they? – F.C.

Dear F.C.: Many Christians would prefer to hear the crowd say about them, “What a great guy or gal,” rather than Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23, NKJV). Satan rejoices when bad habits overwhelm us and we cave to peer pressure. Two conflicting forces cannot survive in one human heart.
The Bible does give us the answers to life’s problems and God Himself provides strength to walk away from temptation. The story of Joseph in Genesis 39 gives us a clear demonstration of this. We may experience some persecution from others but it will teach us that those who tempt us to do wrong are not true friends. The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV). This doesn’t mean we can do all the things we desire, but rather He will give us the strength to walk away from things that are wrong to do or wrong to think.
Seeking approval of others means we aren’t pleasing God. Wanting to be liked can lead to serious problems. We must make it our goal to live for Christ and be faithful to Him, regardless of what the crowd demands. When we confess our sins to God, ask His forgiveness, and obey Him, we have this promise: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).
Our lives are intricately woven into the lives of others and we should consider the variety of people that we can influence for good.
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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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