Last weekend, like the one before the one that just happened, we went up to Missouri to see our friends graduate from the Ethnos 360 Missionary Training Center.  We spent two years with these wonderful people, back in 2014-2016, at Ethnos 360 Bible institute and then we came back here to Rockwall and they went on to be super badass missionaries in training.  (I’m totally fine with it, and am not feeling like I should go off and be Lara Croft, Evangelical Missionary) (And if you don’t buy that I am ok with it, don’t worry I have a counseling appointment on Tuesday, and Dana will straighten me out.)  Anyway, it was so fun to see everyone.  Jesus is always working in my heart because the commencement speaker said something that has “stuck” with me ever since.

During the commencement he said something like, “Don’t be a leech needing approval from everyone around you, you can’t be a blessing to people if you need approval from them.  Don’t be a leech, be a blessing.”  Oh my gosh.  That kicked my brain into overdrive.  I was like, “Oh, my gosh, YES!  I want to bless people I don’t want them to have to approve of me in order to feel good.”  And then he went on to talk about the difficulties these amazing families would be facing going to plant a church in another culture, and how there is so much urgency because people are dying without being at peace with God.  You start talking like that to me and before you know it I’m loading my evangelical guns, packing my all terrain vehicle and forwarding my mail to the jungle.  But then a thought popped up…..


I thought of all the people who would congratulate me for being such a kick ass missionary.  Then I saw that leech.  I realized I would not be going out into the field to save lost souls, I would go because of the approval I would get.  And when you realize that you are willing to live in a jungle because you want the approval of people it would bring, you realize leeching is all you know.  Bouncing from one person to the next getting their stamp of approval is all I know.  It is my litmus test for how my life is going.  Everyone approves of Sarah, Sarah is doing good.  Someone is upset with Sarah, Sarah changes heaven and earth to make that person approve of her.


For sure, being a military brat I needed this skill to make friends.  It’s hard to make friends if you bound into a room and say, “I’m Sarah, like me or die.”  But somewhere along the way, it became the only thing.  And now Jesus says, “Hey girl, that is bondage, lets sift that out of here so you can be a blessing to people.”  He is beginning to free up my head space to look for the truth here.  Here is some truth I know from God’s word.

Galatians 1: 10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Holy truth bomb batman!  Do you see that there?  IF pleasing people is the goal than being Christ’s servant will not be an option!  What???  If I continue down this path of needing to approved by people than I can’t be a servant of Christ.  If there is one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt its that I want to be on Christ’s team.  Why? Because He continually sets me free of things that hold me hostage, like needing approval.  Why can’t I try to please people and Christ?  Take a look:

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.

19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Whoa! Mic drop Jesus!  You see, when I start to love Jesus I start to look less and less like my old self.  You know the one, smoking 1 pack a day, cussing, drinking, cheating people, lying to people, hating her husband, not being a good mother, and generally rebeling against everything…oh wait that wasn’t you too?  Whatever, before Jesus we are all jacked up.  Anyway, the point is when you throw your lot in with Jesus you have to you start to become like Him! And there by, we are no longer part of the unbelieving world. So I would surmise from this, if I love Christ, but I am also welcomed by everyone in my life, believers and non-believers, whose approval am I really seeking?  For me, It’s opening myself up to this truth and saying, “Ok, Jesus, you warned me, I love you more than anything else, so I want to give up seeking man’s approval.”  And so when I am in a situation that the world is totally ok with, but Jesus is not, I seek Jesus’ approval and not the approval of the people around me.  Which makes people mad because they don’t want to deal with a Jesus Freak.

(*Disclaimer–There is a generation running around living by the motto, “I’m gonna be me no matter who it offends and who it makes mad because I have to be true to myself.  This is NOT the kind of “kicking people approval to the curb” kind of attitude we should approach this topic with.  Jesus loves everyone and we should too.  Going around trying to piss people off is not Jesus’ jam, he was trying to save them, they rejected him.)

What if I could really just live my life only seeking God’s approval.  What if I could stop leeching and be blessing to people I love.  What if wearing God’s approval draws people in more than me trying to be pleasing in my own limited human way.  What if I could tap into a the power of God and really live a life of freedom?  What if I could teach my own daughter to live for God’s approval and not the approval of dumb teenagers?  Well, my friends, that is exactly the journey I am on.  This journey is made possible by the Holy Spirit who points out things in me that are not Christ-like, and points me instead to Christ.  This journey is made possible by Jesus Christ who is the savior of the world and the payment for the sin of world even though the world hated Him. This journey is made possible by God the Father who loves me more than anything and has the power to really change me and set me free.  I’m running toward that freedom.  I love you Lord.

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