Popularity – Are You Trying To Win Approval?

Earthly popularity wins no angel points with God.

Are you walking on the tightrope of others approval

I like to be liked. I like to be well thought of, admired and respected.

In the Social Media world we can even measure the amount of popularity or influence a person has. The techies have a measuring tool called Klout. I am currently ranked at 45/100.

Pretty average and its something I worry and fret about day and night – not!

On the surface of it all there is nothing wrong in wanting to liked, to have some sense of approval.

The danger is how much weight we put on it and to what ends we will go to achieving it.

So what happens in your world when you feel the cold winds of rejection? Do you feel like the whole world is against you? Has a great hole of emptiness been opened up?

We were crafted by God to have the perfect form of relationship in which each of us pour freely love and respect into each other without any coercion or demand.

Unconditional free flowing love and respect, without bound, or limits.

Yet now, it can so often feel like manipulation rather than ministry. [pullquote]In the quest for popularity, one risks the loss of ones’ own soul. It is not for others to decide your value or identity, no matter what the result of failing to please.  David Riddell[/pullquote]

Seeking approval from others places you in the danger zone of being a puppet to their pulling of the strings.

So, whose tune are you dancing to?

Who are you trying to control and have dance for you?

Jesus walks into the world and instantly becomes a star. Thousands begin to follow him, like him, are even pinned to him. Klout score probably 100.

Doing miracles, preaching up a storm and then calming another storm down. Healing the sick and giving the religious rulers heaps. As he went on though, his popularity dropped off. The cost of being a follower of Christ meant self sacrifice, it meant saying goodbye to comfort, to the markers of popularity.

Jesus said this.

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? Mark 8: 34-37

What good would it do to you to get everything you want – popularity, fame, fortune, respect, approval – and in doing so miss out on discovering the real you. The ‘You’ that God is in love with.

Jesus had an audience of one and that audience gave a big cheer, a shout, a Mexican wave (if that’s possible) and high fives.

After all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized. As he was praying, the sky opened up and the Holy Spirit, like a dove descending, came down on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.Luke 3:22, 23; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:11; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; 2 Peter 1:17 (The Message)

Just note how many times this has been recorded. This made a huge impact on those early believers.

That is the same voice that we need to listen to. ‘You are my son/ daughter and I am head over heels in love with you.

Have you heard of the Golden Rule?

The Golden rule is that he who has the gold makes the rules.

Are you living to the rules of others just so you can get the gold, whatever that may be.

Approval, respect, love, popularity.

How do we leave this subtle trap.

  1. Check out your own motives in the relationships you have. In your primary relationships are you desiring to minister or to manipulate. What is the end goal for you? Are your behaviours intended to lead the other to do something pleasing to you or are you giving without any thought of what might be returned.
  2. Focus in on the audience of one. What pleases God? What act of worship are you giving to God? Worship is way more than singing a song. It is creating a life song that they – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – sing with you. What would most please God right here right now?
  3. Be open to receiving love and acceptance not based on merit. Be open to others accepting you without you having to earn it. You can’t be something you’re not. Allow yourself to be loved and valued for who you are. If others have a standard of acceptability that you have to reach before you’re included then do you seriously want to be with people like that? Remember that Jesus ate with the beggars, the lepers and others who were shunned.
  4. Give acceptance to others not based on merit. Do you only accept people who are like you or that have a reached a level of value in your eyes. Love them because they are flawed image bearers just like you.

Some more food for thought

Only a deliberate shift from the subtle commitment to manipulate to the deliberate commitment to minister will shatter that barrier and permit the rich, intimate, fulfilling relationship of Soul Oneness. Larry Crabb (The Marriage Builder)

Beliefs determine goals. Larry Crabb

The essentials for establishing the kind of communication that leads to Soul Oneness are regularly reaffirming that our goal is ministry to our spouses and carefully ensuring that our desire for ministry from our spouses does not become our goal. Larry Crabb

Why are you so vulnerable to manipulation? Their approval is not vital to you, neither should you fear their reaction if you have to say ‘no’. David Riddell

Question to consider and leave a comment. How much does gaining others approval help or hinder you?

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: Foxtongue via Compfight cc

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