Approval Junkies

  1. Message: In Acts 12 persecution of the church continued as King Herod sought the praise and approval of the Jews. He had James killed and when he saw that this pleased them he had Peter thrown in prison. He was set for execution as well but since it was Passover week he was held in prison with special guards set up until the day he was to be executed. God intervened the night before he was supposed to be executed by sending an angel to release Peter. It was done in such a powerful and unexpected way that Peter thought he was seeing a vision, the church that was praying didn’t expect it and the explanation could only be credited to God. When Herod couldn’t find Peter he had his own guards interrogated and executed. Herod left from there to make another public appearance and the people equated him to a god. God killed Herod shortly after this since he allowed this and took glory for himself that belongs only to God. There are so many things to be drawn from this story but I kept refocusing on the fact that Herod was a people pleaser. He craved the approval of people to the point of destruction and eventually his own death.
  2. Command: Don’t allow a desire for man’s approval to take the driver’s seat.
  3. Promise: Our approval comes from God and is never destructive.
  4. Warning: Our craving for approval is destructive and never satisfied.
  5. Application: We all want to be accepted, but this story shows how King Herod Agrippa was so driven for approval that he caused destruction all around him just to get it. Interesting enough, he was the king and didn’t need the approval of the people in order to have power. He craved the approval of the people and his appetite for approval caused him to abuse his position of power by having people killed. His appetite wasn’t satisfied after he had James killed. He continued his pursuit until God shut him down. Most of us probably can’t relate to king Herod’s brutality but we can all relate to a desire for approval. This is something God has really had to work out of me over the years because I recognized that even though some of the things I did for approval appeared to be good, the motivation was for approval more than it was to be helpful. We will never satisfy this craving for approval as long as we continue chasing after it. We weren’t meant to be fulfilled this way and as long as we chase after it will we destroy ourselves and those around us in our manipulations to get it. This doesn’t mean we should stop doing good things (or bad things if we’re the rebellious type of approval junkies)- it means we have to pay attention to our motivations. My challenge to myself is to question my motivations when I do things for others and try doing good things anonymously in order to starve that craving and still be helpful.

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