Luke 6:24-26 — Today, we come to the end of this “woeful” passage. The first thing that comes to mind when I read this passage is the old saying, “Even a dead dog can swim with the tide.” Today’s verse, v. 26, is about being part of the in-crowd and selling your soul in the process. There is trouble ahead for those who live for the approval of others rather than for the approval of the One who made us.

If I was in the crowd at the Sermon on the Plain here in this passage, I would have felt like this statement Jesus made was preached right at me right between my eyes. Have you ever heard a sermon where you thought the preacher was preaching right at you. Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I was constantly moving. Living in a new town every couple of years. I had to learn to adapt and fit in so that I would not be singled out as the new kid for very long. I became a chameleon at an early age. I did whatever it took to win the approval of the in-crowd. I was good at. I was so good at that it affected my entire life. Seeking and looking for the approval of others.

As I grew into adulthood, it became about seeking bedroom approval, as I will call it, from every woman that I was in a relationship with. Bedroom approval was everything. I lived my life for it. I compromised my principles for it. I sold my soul for it. Keeping access to the pleasures of the bedroom ruled my life no matter who I was married to but particularly in my second marriage. As a classic second marriage, it was ruled by my kids vs. your kids issue. So, my second marriage set up the ultimate battle of my life – my kids/your kids vs. keeping bedroom approval.

I regret to say that I failed in this battle. My relationship with my kids ended up being only what I had to do legally rather than being a real dad to them. I would compromise being a dad to them rather give up access to bedroom approval. Thus my second wife became my god. Her feelings about me ruled how I felt about myself. I do not blame my second wife for this, anymore. I blame myself. I could see what was happening but was not man enough to stand up and say that I am going to be a real dad to my girls. I allowed this whole thing to happen. My second wife was taking the ground that I gave to her just like anyone does in a relationship. I could have changed things early on but never did just to keep approval. That has been the story of my life from the beginning. Approval seeking. Making gods of approval in whatever form it may take.

Thank God and my salvation and two very loving daughters that I still have a relationship with them. As a matter of fact, our relationship now is a deep and abiding relationship that has survived and flourished. My girls are. It reminds me of how God sees us. We disappoint Him mightily each day but He still loves us and accepts us into His arms daily even when we have just blatantly all out said I think this thing is god and not you, Lord. He loved me anyway.

Whenever you make something other than God to be your god, you will make compromises on things that really matter like integrity, responsibility, and doing what is right. When you make something other than God your god, it or he/she will disappoint. When we make something that was created by God a god, it will fail us in some way. It is only when we find our value, our intrinsic value in God through Jesus Christ that we can get off the approval meter. It is when we find our value in Jesus Christ that we finally see that compromise is not the answer. Fitting in by compromising that which is right is only temporary. As humans, we change the rules about what is right and wrong as time marches on, but the principles of Jesus Christ stand forever. When we get to our judgment, are we going to say, “Lord, I did the best I could to fit in with the crowd?”

Each one of us has a judgment day coming. It is inevitable. It will be either at our own death or when Jesus Christ returns with the sound of trumpets in the eastern sky. We will be judged by our Creator. Why then do act as though our judgment is not coming by living lives of compromise just to fit in. We all recognize that there is an end to this life and some form of judgment awaits regardless of whether we believe in any god at all. Our Father in Heaven wired us that way. It is in Jesus Christ, who knows what lousy scoundrels that we are, that we find forgiveness and being made right with God. Even when we have flaunted our nose up at him for years and years. He is ready and waiting for you to see that man-made gods are not the answer. He wired you to worship Him, recognize Him. He gave you free will and you used it to worship other things just like me. I worshiped approval from others, from women, from things, from security, from fitting in until I was age 39. It was then I found that all of that was meaningless. Again, I come to Matthew 6:33, seek the kingdom of heaven first. Seek the approval of the one who really matters in eternity first. Everything else is temporary. Seek Jesus first. Please Him. All this other stuff is all secondary to that.

It is funny that when you quit the rat race of approval seeking from others and begin seeking His approval, that God will bring you the man or woman that He designed for you. When you quit chasing anything else beside Him, He will fulfill you and give you different eyes. It was only when I laid down my need for approval from women and what they offer a man that I finally found true relationship in that area. God had Elena finding her way to me but God would only allow me to see her when my eyes were focused on Him. We make mistakes in life that we regret, but through Jesus’ grace, our Father says welcome home, I am glad that you can finally see me.

Final thought – live your life with a vertical approach (seeking approval from the Father in Heaven) instead of a horizontal approach (seeking approval from other people or things that are here on earth).

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