It was a hot summer afternoon, deep in the heart of Texas. I was twenty-one years old and extremely self-conscious about looking good in front of other people. I would do almost anything to impress others. I wanted to be liked.
So imagine how I felt about driving a car as old as I was. Yeah, I wasn’t super thrilled about the idea. But the car was free (given to me by my grandparents), and it was in great working order.
It was practical and got me where I needed to go.
Even so, I was extremely self-conscious about driving it. When I would go hang out with my friends, I would park way in the back so no one would see me.
Then the wheels came off of my pride.
I was driving down the highway after having lunch with a friend. It was hot outside, and my car air conditioning couldn’t seem to keep up. I was sweating while keeping my foot on the gas, trying to get home when I hit traffic. All of the sudden my car started shaking and then shut down. I was mortified!
I quickly turned the key, and the engine came back to life.
Then it happened again. Cars began honking at me as I inched down the road. I called my dad, and he explained that my car was overheating. He said, “Turn on the heater as high as it will go and get to a parking spot as soon as you can.”
I was already totally embarrassed, sweating, and flustered that I was clogging up traffic. Now, I had to turn the heater on in the middle of a blistering summer day? I thought I was going to die of embarrassment and/or melt in my seat.
God used that experience to open my eyes to just how ungrateful and prideful I had been.
I was basing my worth on what others thought about me. I was overly concerned about looking good in front of my friends and much less concerned about living for the approval of Christ.
I now realize that my worth is found in Christ alone.
- Christ is my hope (1 Cor. 15:54–58).
- Christ is my satisfaction (Ps. 17:15).
- Christ is my standard (Matt. 16:24).
- Christ is the only One I need to please (2 Cor. 5:9).
- Christ is concerned by the state of my heart, not the kind of car that I drive (1 Sam. 16:7).
Fast forward several years to today, and I still drive that old car. The only difference is that I don’t park in the back, and I’m no longer embarrassed or ashamed.
Maybe you’ve never found yourself dripping with sweat, pulling your car to the side of the road, but I bet you can relate to my story. You want people to like you. You want to impress others.
You want people to want to be around you. Am I right?
Wanting to be liked isn’t a bad thing, but feeling like you must have the approval of others and doing crazy things in order to achieve that is a problem. The apostle Paul said it this way,
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10).
I want to encourage you to stop and pray right now. Ask God to reveal any area of your life where you are living to please others. Ask Him to help you to put Him back on the throne and to make living for Him your number one priority.
I’d love to hear from you.
Do you struggle to live for the approval of others instead of living for the approval of God?
How can you surrender that area to God and make Him the most important person in your life?