Sweet-potatoes. Facebook. Mark 6 & 12. That's what the Holy Spirit gave me when I asked God what I should write about this week. Whew! At least now you know I couldn't put this together without Him! Here goes.
Sweet-potatoes and white potatoes look like cousins. However, I learned something new this week... they are not even in the same botanical family!
Both kinds of potatoes satisfy the need to feel full. And yet, Russets can make your bones ache and increase toxins while sweet-potatoes can make you feel better and reduce inflammation. But they look so darn similar!
Two good friends of mine have both told me recently that they are watching what they “eat” lately, in a spiritual sense. Like how they are spending their time, their thoughts, what they are reading, watching, etc. Both asking the question, “What am I consuming? What am I feasting on when I need to be feasting on God and His Word instead?”
It brings to mind all the things God has asked me to give up in the past because I was getting full on them instead of Him. It was a long list ...which tells me something.
The one that jumps out at me today is when the Lord asked me to fast email and Facebook.
It was, in my opinion, the WORST time to give up those things. But when I went back after those 40 days, the oh-so-critical email I had been waiting for never came.
How kind of my Lord to ask me to put it aside during that critical window of time. Otherwise, I would have checked night and day for a message that He knew was not coming. I would not have been “consuming” my email or Facebook accounts. They would have consumed me. Wow. He spared me of that madness!
When I struggled with Facebook “addiction,” it was that craving for approval. I wanted to be heard or noticed or have someone respond to me in some way so I felt valued.
Now don't get all crazy on me. I know that white potatoes are excellent sources of potassium and vitamin c and sustain large portions of the population. I know that God works in a lot of ways and people minister to each other on Facebook. The point of this is not to villainize. The point is about seeking the approval of man instead of the approval of God. For me, I did that through social media. For you, it might be your obsession over your appearance or trying too hard to impress others. You know what it is.
Here's the thing. The craving for approval... that is God-given. There is nothing wrong with that at all! Just like craving potatoes.
But I have a choice. I can roast the sweet-potatoes or I can roast the Idaho-gold. Both are going to pair beautifully with my salmon and asparagus. Both are going to fill me up. But one is going to make my joints hurt later and one is going to reduce the inflammation.
In the same way, seeking the approval of others leaves me aching. While the approval of God builds me up and strengthens me.
It's not a matter of earning approval either. It's a matter of resting in it.
For the longest time, I worked so hard to impress God. I strived for the approval of my Father. Why? Because I did not know (or believe) that I already had His approval! By the blood of Jesus. I let go of striving on a Princess Perspective retreat.
Now, this is my prayer: “We have come to know and have believed the love God has for us...” (1 John 4:16).
If we know the love He has for us, it is easy to return it to Him. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 16:30-31).
He also leads me to Mark 6. The people “took offense at Jesus,” saying “Where did he get all that wisdom and power? Isn't he just that carpenter from down the street?" (vs. 2-3). Ok. I can see how this fits in with the topic of “approval of man” (or lack thereof).
The thing about it that catches my attention is that “Jesus could do no might work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them” (vs. 5). Jesus could not do any mighty works there. And “Jesus marveled at their unbelief” (vs. 6).
The way that town responded to Jesus restricted the things he could do for them.
I wonder if when we seek approval of man, we are simultaneously disapproving of God. In essence, we say that what those people think of us matters most and what God thinks of us doesn't matter. Maybe that's in part why we don't see more mighty works. Just saying.
So ask yourself the hard question: What have I been consuming lately to satisfy my need for approval?
And the bigger question: Lord, where do I still doubt your love and approval for me?
Maybe a memory or an emotion comes to mind. That's the thing you need to bring to Him. Let him do a mighty work of healing your unbelief towards him today.
After all, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us” (A. W. Tozer).