I just spent a weekend on a retreat with 170 men from my church. Our focus was on a verse from 2 Timothy 1:6-8 (For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.)
What a tremendous weekend to rest and reflect on where I am today and where I see that God wants me to go. A major revelation came to me over the weekend on how I focus myself. It is really important to me that those around me have a favorable opinion of me. Now keep in mind that it is not everyone but those whom I respect, I also seek their respect of me. People that have a Godly character I long to have them say 'good job' or 'well done'.
That in and of itself is not bad but this weekend I came to the realization that I was placing this before seeking to please God. Now if I'm seeking approval from Godly people isn't that the same? NO WAY! Even the pharisees did that in Jesus' time. They paraded around seeking the approval of man but could care less for God and His approval of their thoughts or actions.
Starting this weekend all of that is changing... I am seeking GOD's approval first. I know that He is right beside me (even now) and His Holy Spirit dwells within me.
It reminds me of a scripture verse...
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)