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In this world, with all its pressures and drive to succeed, it is easy to seek the approval of man. After all, if we want to get ahead at work, have a happy marriage, have well-contented children, keep friends, etc., don't we have to work at making them happy? As Christians, we need to seek God's wisdom, not worldly wisdom, as we work at sorting out and balancing these things.
”And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” [Mark 1:34]
Have you ever wondered why Jesus did not allow the devils to speak? They knew who He was. A few verses before, a devil had identified Him as the “Holy One of God.” If Jesus sought to establish who He was, why not take all the witnesses possible? A few verses later, Jesus even commanded a man He had healed not to talk about it. Jesus obviously was not seeking the acknowledgement or approval of man.
We are often anxious to prove who we are and have others recognize what God has done or is doing in our lives. When we do that, we are taking the glory from God and placing ourselves at the center of attention. Jesus refused to do that. He knew Who He was and what He had to do. Because He had confidence in God, He did not need to seek the approval of man. The devils were offering Him a temptation to push Himself forward, jump ahead of God's purposes, gratify His ego, and be successful in the eyes of the world.
How many times are we willing to compromise our integrity because we want the approval of man and we don’t care where it comes from. The temptation has power when we lack confidence in God. When we are not sure God has called us, or we can’t wait for His timing or our own goals have clouded God’s, then we want to solve the problem ourselves. Those who grasp for power or position are usually those least able and qualified to have it. They will find themselves compromising principles and Christian character to have man's approval, which is necessary to keep a position they have fought for.
Jesus was perfectly content to have God establish Him. He did not need to desperately claw at every opportunity to be known as the Son of God. He did not have to shout, “Look here I am, the Son of God, the Messiah, even the devils know Me!” When we know who we are, we are not anxious if others recognize it or not.
David is a beautiful example of this. As a young boy, David was anointed king of Israel by the great prophet Samuel himself. There was no mistaking the call. Yet David never grasped for the position. He served and respected the current king. He was faithful and true even though Saul tried to kill him. When David was given to opportunity to kill Saul and take the kingdom by force, he refused. He knew that God’s word could not fail and that in the right time, God would place him on the throne.
If God places us in a position, then He will keep us there. If we fight, struggle, and politic our way into position, then we will have to fight, struggle, and politic to stay there. It is much better to wait on God and be available for what He has in mind for our lives. Great men and women of God are often, at least at first, not recognized as great by their peers. But God is looking for a humble and submissive person, the one He can trust. Is that you?
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