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Seeking His Approval and Affirmation Sets Us Free

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
When we seek God's approval and affirmation, rather than the approval of others, we are set free. - Do you ever feel worn out from worrying? Many people who have fallen into a sinful pattern of worrying expend vast amounts of time and energy trying to please other people.  They go to great lengths to gain other people’s approval because they have not yet learned to seek their affirmation from God. In this installment of Dr. Dunlap’s series on self-identity, he reminds us that we must understand the biblical principles regarding self-identity.P>

In Psalm 37:8 the psalmist warns,

Fret not yourself; it only leads to evil doing.

One of the most grievous consequences of the sin of excessive worrying is that it leads us to forsake God and resort to our human ingenuity. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s lovingkindness.


When we choose to worry about anything - we doubt God’s lovingkindness.

In his devotional book Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon sheds light on this sinful tendency:

We labor to take on ourselves our weary burden, as if God were unable or unwilling to take it for us. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself.

Christians are commanded to seek God’s approval above the approval of our fellow man.

Many people who have fallen into the sinful habit of worrying expend vast amounts of time and energy trying to please other people. They often fret over imagined negative responses that people will have toward them. They go to great lengths to gain other people’s approval because they have not yet learned to seek their affirmation from God. Their anxiety grows out of their lack of understanding of the biblical principles regarding self-identity.

Self-identity may be defined as the wisdom to see - ourselves - as God sees us, and the determination to live in such a way as to gain His approval rather than the approval of our fellow man. The writer of Psalm 100:3 declares,

Know you that the Lord is God. It is He Who has made us and we are His.”

Must we “feel good about ourselves” in order to live a successful Christian life?

Most Christians do not understand the truth regarding the concept of self-identity. The author of a recent article in Ladies Home Journal magazine announced, “Feeling good about ourselves may be the cornerstone of our well-being.”


The topic of self-esteem frequently surfaces among both Christians and non-Christians alike. We have only to pick up a newspaper or a magazine, or tune into a television talk show to realize how popular the self-acceptance issue has become.


We must use God’s Word to sift through all the misconceptions about self-esteem.

Several commonly held beliefs about self-esteem are, nevertheless, unbiblical in their origin. Let us consider the following statements:

I must believe in myself and feel good about myself.

I have to stand up for my rights.

I need to fulfill myself by realizing my creative potential.

I deserve to have security and significance.

Christians must examine comments such as these in light of Scripture.

Does the Bible actually instruct us to regard ourselves as “worthwhile human beings” as some Christian leaders have claimed? Do we truly need “a healthy dose of self-esteem and personal worth?” Does God want us, as someone has suggested, to “get past” the notion that we are unworthy sinners, so that we can fully accept the saving grace that God offers in Christ? Should Believers participate in the proposed “New Reformation” that supposedly focuses on “the sacred right of every person to self-esteem?”

These questions are worthy of further scrutiny. The goal of our investigation will be to establish and examine the biblical principles that teach us that our self-identity is rooted and grounded in the Lord Jesus Christ.


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