S (Scripture): John 12:42 Nevertheless, even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess Jesus to be the Christ, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. 12:43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
O (Observation): The Pharisees have some sway here, no? I mean, these people (the judicial “rulers”, the Sanhedrin, like Nicodemus) WANT to believe in Jesus…but they also want approval from the Pharisees – the leading religious authorities – so they can retain their prestigious positions among the people.
These folks are stuck. What can they do?
A (Application): Seeking “Approval” from those around us can actually prevent us from being faithful to the Lord. Jesus experiences some tough approval ratings as things start heating up. And ironically, these low numbers would result in his glorification on the cross.
Jesus was secure in his identity, having combated Satan and understanding that he did not need approval from those in this world, but only from the Father alone.
Mike Breen, founder of 3D Movements, writes about “approval” in his book, Multiplying Missional Leaders. Here is what Breen writes, regarding “approval”:
Rather than finding peace in being sons and daughters of the King, people adopted into a family with a loving Father, we find ourselves needing the approval from people around us, desperately hoping they will affirm our value. Maybe we’re hoping they like us or see us as successful. Many of us have hung our coat of identity on receiving the approval of others instead of on the love of our Father, who tells us before we ever do anything for him, “I love you. I’m proud of you. I believe in you. I always have and always will.”
[Breen, Mike (2012-05-10). Multiplying Missional Leaders (Kindle Locations 763-767). . Kindle Edition.]
Breen reminds us that approval is an issue about IDENTITY. Our Father God has established a relationship with us – a COVENANT – that will not, and can not, be broken. And so, with AUTHORITY from our KING, we move forward in belief that Jesus is the Son of God, regardless of approval from those around us. Being a person of faith does not start with approval from those around us, but being claimed by the one above!
P (Prayer): Lord, relieve us from our dependency on approval, and help us to remember that you have already claimed us as your own. That is all the approval we will ever need. Amen.