Last night, Life Church held a live recording of some of the worship music the team has written. I am so excited to have been able to attend and be a part of the audience for this! The goal of the worship team and the leadership of the church was that God would show up and His people would worship and that everything that happened there was all for Jesus. It was an amazing night!
I find something has been happening to me lately when I am gathered in a large worship setting where so many people are in a stance of worship – the leaders, the people, everyone is there to worship God and invite Holy Spirit to show up. God has been using this time to change me, to free me, to call me closer to Him.
I sing my heart out in worship to the King and by about the third song I feel God working on me, speaking to me, calling me to release something. With my hands held open, I start to pray. On some mornings, I know what to pray but last night, I felt God wanting to break something more off of me but I didn’t know what. I prayed that Holy Spirit would show me what needed to break off. What I needed to release.
Thoughts came to mind – unworthiness, being loved, belonging – but these are things that God has already broken off of me. I knew it was not what God was calling me to release last night. I kept praying, “Show me what I need to renounce. Please show me what I need to release. I surrender. I want to be All Yours.”
I shifted back and forth between worshipping with song and praying for Holy Spirit work in my life. Thoughts kept running through my head and I kept trying to quiet those thoughts to hear from Jesus, not from my own self.
He did not let me down. People-pleasing came to mind and I started to dismiss it because this is something I have already surrendered to Jesus but I couldn’t just let it go. There was something deeper. Something similar to people-pleasing, but not.
It was approval seeking.
I crave the approval of others. I love to be told “Great job, you’re awesome.” I love to be recognized for my accomplishments. I long for people to approve of me as a person, as a teacher, as a mom, as a daughter, as a friend, as an employee, as a blogger – you name it.
And God said, “It’s time to let this go. The only approval you need is mine.”
So I did. Friends, I surrendered and renounced this useless stronghold in my life. I renounced my need to have approval and listed all the people/places I look for approval. I renounced every single one. I surrendered my need to find approval in Earthly places. And I prayed that I would only seek approval from God from now on.
Do you know what’s so cool about God? Often, he brings confirmation of the things you do for Him. Like, if you are doubting that you had an encounter with God, He is willing to show you it was real.
I wasn’t doubting what happened last night but God still chose to speak to me this morning. I’ve begun to read the book of Acts. I’m parallel reading it in the Contemporary English Version and The Message. This morning I was in chapters 3 – 4.
For a little context, Acts starts off after Jesus rose from the dead, spent 40 days on Earth, and then went up to heaven to sit at the right hand of the throne of God. The disciples are now left on Earth, without Jesus, having been told to wait for a gift that is coming to them from Jesus.
In chapter two, the gift arrives on the day of Pentecost – The Holy Spirit comes upon the believers! They may not have Jesus in person anymore, but they now have the Holy Spirit in and upon them giving them the power to do God’s work on Earth!
In Chapter 3, Peter and John are heading into the temple to pray and they see a man who has been lame near the gate. The man was looking for money, begging for handouts. Peter calls the man to look at him and says that though he doesn’t have money, he has something much better. Peter, in the name of Jesus and through Holy Spirit power, HEALS the man and suddenly he’s able to walk again! Peter then goes on to preach about Jesus and around 5000 people are saved that day!
The leaders of the temple were not happy though. They had just recently crucified Jesus and now Peter and John are here doing miracles and preaching in Jesus’ name. So they arrested Peter and John and threw them in jail for the night!
The next day, the religious leaders and scholars gather together and question Peter and John and they are amazed at the boldness and wisdom these men show. Then they meet together privately and try to figure out what to do. See, they didn’t have any reason to keep the men in jail but they also REALLY didn’t want more people to learn about Jesus and His power. So they decide to threaten Peter and John.
They call these disciples back into the meeting and tell them that they are free to go, but they must never speak or teach about Jesus again.
Peter’s answer is so perfect! He says, “Do you think God wants us to obey you or to obey Him? We cannot keep quiet!”
My mind goes to – Do you think we are looking for approval from you or from God? I love this!
The men are let go and they immediately go to their friends, tell them what happened, and then they pray and cry out to God. They pray that God will “Take care of their threats and give your servants fearless confidence in preaching your Message, as you stretch out your hand to us in healings and miracles and wonders done in the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 1 Timothy 4:29-30
What happens next is so amazing! “While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.”
Oh those beautiful words – fearless confidence!
These people were choosing not to seek the approval of the religious leaders, the scholars, and the people in charge of that time. They wanted only God’s approval and they prayed for fearless confidence to serve God and work only for His approval. And God answered that prayer!!
This is what I prayed for last night. To live a life for God’s approval and no one else. So now I am praying for fearless confidence to live that out every day. To pray for people right when I feel Holy Spirit prompting me to pray. To blog with God’s approval in mind. To share Tik Tok messages not for the numbers, except to recognize how many people God is reaching. To love my students furiously so they see and feel God’s love. To not worry about whether the people around me approve of what I am doing, but to have the fearless confidence to do what God is calling me to do and what God approves of!
Who else could use a dose of fearless confidence? Pray! Ask! This is something He wants to give you!
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your great power, your great love, and how you work so intimately in our lives. Help us to renounce any need we feel for the approval of others and to only look to You for approval. Please give us fearless confidence to live a life that honors You, filled with Holy Spirit power, walking out our lives for You, showing others You, and stepping out to do the things You call us to do! Let us pray loudly, boldly, with faith that You WILL answer! In Jesus name, Amen!