Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.” –  Matthew 4:5-7.

Jesus was tempted as we see in Matthew 4. How He responded to Satan’s attempts to tempt Him can teach us a lot about how to beat the temptation we see on a daily basis. One of the most common temptations that we face as humans is the temptation to define our value by other people’s acceptance or approval of us rather than by what God declares our value to be when we are a Jesus follower.

Look at Matthew 4: 5-7: First look at Satan’s phrasing: “If you are the Son of God…” Then he tells Jesus to jump off (the highest point of the temple). The temptation for Jesus to throw Himself off the highest place on the temple is, at its root, a temptation for Him to do something extraordinary to gain the applause and approval of an audience. It’s a temptation to find His worth in what people thought of Him, instead of in His identity as the Son of God.

It’s normal for us to seek appreciation from others. In fact, it’s healthy. We are called to be servants to others, and if we didn’t care what anyone else thought of us, we’d be too self-centered and focused on ourselves. It becomes an issue when we feel a need to seek approval from others and derive our identity and value from what they think. We have to be careful we don’t have an unhealthy need for approval and acceptance. 

When we crave approval, we end up becoming the person that we believe will earn that approval. We don’t become the person God wants us to be. If we try to be who everyone else wants us to be, we miss out on what God has for our lives. If we are obtaining our approval and identity from people, we are not getting those same things from God. We need to remember that the true value of anything is typically defined by two things: who made it and what people are willing to pay for it. We know that we were made by a perfect Creator and that He was willing to give up His Son to rescue us. That gives us a level of approval that beats any recognition or applause we get from people in this life. 

So instead of believing Satan’s lie that we need everyone’s approval to be happy and that our worth comes from the acceptance of others, we can rest in God’s truth that His approval is the only approval that we truly need. Because when we have Christ as our Savior, then we have God’s approval.

Discussion Question:

  1. What are the signs that would indicate that we crave human approval rather than the approval of God?
  2. Why do you think having approval is important?
  3. What are practical ways you can ensure your approval is not from people but from God?