by Gordon Crook
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
From very a very young age, we tend to look for approval. Approval from our parents, approval from our friends, approval from our boss. How often we are led to do things that are destructive in an attempt to find approval from others. It seems to be part of our nature to look for approval in many places and many ways.
Cain failed to find God's approval because he wanted to do it his own way. God provided a way for Cain to find approval, and Abel found approval because he chose to go with God's way. What a terrible waste of time to seek any kind of approval other than God's.
The things that God approves are not the things the world would approve. When Samuel went to anoint the second king for Israel, he thought he knew who God had chosen, but God approves based on His knowledge of the heart. We will be approved of God when our hearts are filled with Him.
God has made it very clear what He approves. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Acts 2:22.
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Matthew 17:5. God's approval lies in His Son Jesus Christ. And so it is, that we are made accepted in the Beloved; Ephesians 1:6. There is not better approval.
Many of God’s people are looking for man’s approval in their teaching and their doctrine. They want to preach or teach things that are popular with the listeners. Paul reminds Timothy that the approval that matters comes from God. Timothy is encouraged to pursue a path that would be approved of God. How much more fruitful our endeavors when we are seeking God's approval. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. 2 Corinthians 10:18.
Study of God’s Word is needed if we will show ourselves approved of God. If we study God’s Word, rightly divided, we will indeed be approved, because God’s Word points us always to God’s Son.
Our interest should always be to seek to be approved of God. It may mean that we will lose some of man's approval. Not always will our friends, or even family, be willing to go on with the Lord, and we have to decide between their approval and God's approval.