Key to Managing Stress: Whose Approval Are You Living For?

I am not trying to do what I want, but only what [my Father] who sent me wants” (John 5:30 GNT).


You can’t please everyone. It’s one of the great truths of life. If you haven’t learned it yet, you’ll struggle with stress for the rest of your life.If you please group A, group B will be upset at you. And if you please group B, you’ll upset group A. One minute you’re a hero; the next minute you’re a zero.

Even God can’t please everyone. Think of all the sporting events where people on both sides pray for a win. Only one team can win the game. One person prays for rain. Another prays for snow. Only one gets their prayer answered.

If God can’t please every person, it’s foolish for us to try.

If you don’t know whose approval you’re living for, stress will always follow you.

Jesus models this for us. I’ve been sharing with you Jesus’ seven principles of handling stress. Yesterday, I discussed the Principle of Identification.

Next is the Principle of Motivation. You must know what (and more importantly, whose approval), you’re living for.

Jesus showed us this in John 5:30 when he said: “I am not trying to do what I want, but only what [my Father] who sent me wants” (GNT).

Jesus wasn’t trying to win a popularity contest. He lived for an audience of one. He had a simple life in many ways. He just did what God put him on Earth to do.

Jesus never let approval or rejection of others control him. It’s part of the reason he lived without stress.

In fact, Jesus reminds us in Luke 16:13, “No one can serve two masters” (NLT). You can’t live for the approval of others and live for God’s approval at the same time.

Whose approval are you living for?


SIT QUIETLY WITH ME , letting all your fears and worries bubble up to the surface of your consciousness. There, in the Light of My Presence, the bubbles pop and disappear. However, some fears surface over and over again, especially fear of the future. You tend to project yourself mentally into the next day, week, month, year, decade; and you visualize yourself coping badly in those times.
What you are seeing is a false image, because it doesn’t include Me. Those gloomy times that you imagine will not come to pass, since My Presence will be with you at all times. When a future-oriented worry assails you, capture it and disarm it by suffusing the Light of My Presence into that mental image. Say to yourself, “Jesus will be with me then and there. With His help, I can cope!” Then, come home to the present moment, where you can enjoy Peace in My

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
LUKE 12 : 22 – 26

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will
never leave you nor forsake you.”

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every
thought to make it obedient to Christ.




Grow by Cooperating with God


As you grow to spiritual maturity, there are several ways to cooperate with God in the process —

Believe God is working in your life even when you don’t feel it. Spiritual growth is sometimes tedious work, one small step at a time. Expect gradual improvement.

There are seasons in your spiritual life, too. Sometimes you will have a short, intense burst of growth (springtime) followed by a period of stabilizing and testing (fall and winter).

Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned. This is not a diary of events, but a record of what you are learning. Write down the insights and life lessons God teaches you about him, about yourself, about life, relationships, and everything else.

The reason we must relearn lessons is that we forget them. Reviewing your spiritual journal regularly can spare you a lot of unnecessary pain and heartache.

We are often in a hurry when God isn’t. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you’re making in life. Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity.

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