bobwire wrapped around a fense post

I. Introduction.

    The hard part about writing this article is that everyone has been caught in the trap of the "approval addiction", including myself.  However, many people have an "approval addiction" and don't even realize that they have it. An approval addiction is when someone looks for a "high" by seeking to get the approval of others. The show-off in school is someone that has an approval addiction.  The person who goes to church to be seen of others has an approval addiction.  The parent who fails to discipline his or her children most likely has an approval addiction.  The person who is almost always passive in relationships most likely has an approval addiction.  The person who violates his conscience to be accepted of others has an approval addiction.  People who enter into multiple marriages often have an approval addiction.  The person who goes from church meeting to church meeting to get someone to prophesy over them, most likely has an approval addiction.  Many people who seek many doctors with many ailments often just want the attention because they have an approval addiction.  Many people who join various clubs or church groups, join because they have an approval addiction.  Some people spend all their money on status symbols (new cars expensive clothes, or the newest electronic gadget) so that they can receive the approval of others.  Many people who are exercise or diet freaks are also people with an approval addiction.

    Some people actually realize that they have an approval addiction and seek deliverance for the approval drive behind the addiction, but have no success.  Why?  The drive for approval in one sense is a God-given drive.  God has put within man the need for approval, but primarily for the purpose to drive us to Him for His approval.  When we, however, seek first the approval of others it is termed in Scripture as the "fear of man".  "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25).  When we fear men more than God, we are caught in the trap of an approval addiction.  To see if you have an approval addiction take the Fear of Man Test.

II. Here are some Scriptural examples:

Adam =  "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:6).  The Scripture does not say so, but Adam may have taken and eating of the fruit to get Eve's approval. The result was that he knowingly sinned and was banished from the garden.

Abraham = "And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land" (Genesis 12:10).  "And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah" (Genesis 20:2).  Here Abraham lied to get the approval of the king.

Isaac =  "And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon" (Genesis 26:7).  Isaac lied about his wife to get the approval of the men.

Aaron = "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him  And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me" (Exodus 32:1-2). "And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief" (Exodus 32:22).  Aaron made a golden calf to get the approval of the people.  The result was about 3,000 men were killed and the golden calf was ground into powder and put into the water for the people to drink.  Gold powder is susposed to be a strong laxative.

Samson =  "And she (Delilah) said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man" (Judges 16:15-17). Samson told Delilah his secret to his strength to get her approval.  The result was that he was taken captive, his eyes were put out, and he became a slave to grind grain for the enemy.

Eli = "Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD" (I Samuel 2:12). "Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.   Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress.  If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.   And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.   And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house?   And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?" (I Samuel 2:22-29).  Eli failed to discipline his sons in order to keep their approval.  The result was that judgment was brought upon him and his sons as well as the people.  The Ark of the Covenant was lost to the Philistines.  Eli's sons were killed. The army lost the battle. Eli, himself, fell from where he was sitting and died.  When his daughter in law got the news, she named her baby being born, Ichabod, meaning that the glory of the Lord is departed. Then she died.

Saul = "And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice" (I Samuel 15:24). In order to keep the approval of Samuel, Saul blamed the people for his sin of not destroying the king, Agag, and taking a spoil.  The result was that God rejected him and he lost his position of being the king.

Jezebel =  "And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite" (I Kings 21:7).  "And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead" (I Kings 21:15). Jezebel had Naboth stoned to death to keep the approval of her husband, Ahab.

Solomon = "And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father" (I Kings 11:3-4).  As stated, Solomon sought the approval of his wives and they turned his heart away from God.

Pilate = "Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.  And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:15-17).  Pilate tried to keep the approval of the people by offering to release a prisoner thinking that the people would ask for the release of Jesus.  However, when the people chose Barabbas, Pilate turned Jesus over to the mob to be executed.

Herod = "But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.  Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.  And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.  And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.  And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison" (Matthew 14:6-10). Herod made a stupid promise to the daughter of Herodias to get her approval.  Then he had John killed to keep the approval of the people.

III. Some resolutions for the approval addiction.
A. Recognize that the approval addiction is a trap of bondage.  "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25).  The devil tempts us to seek the approval of man above seeking the approval of God. Once we yield to the temptation, we become blind to obeying God. The the enemy leads us put up all kinds of defenses to justify our wrong actions.

B. Be sure that you are approved as a child of God.  See Find, Life, Purpose, and Joy.

1. Understand that the Father was well pleased in Jesus.  "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22).

2. Understand that in Christ that you are fully accepted. "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).

3. Understand that nothing can change your eternal acceptance in Christ. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:28-29).

4. Understand that you are perfectly righteous in Christ.  "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Corinthians 5:21).

5. Be aware that Jesus will never leave or forsake you for any reason. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:20).

C. We should always seek the approval of God in our walk first.
1. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

2. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).

3. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

D. Upon submitting ourselves to God we should also resist the devil.
1. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

2. "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (I Peter 5:7-9).

3. "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Hebrews 13:6).

E. We should also use the Word to overcome the addiction.
1. "And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee" (Joshua 10:8).

2. "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" (Psalms 118:6).

3. "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"  (Psalms 27:1).