Once again, I’d like to draw from 2 Timothy 2:15 and bring attention to the opening of the verse: “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (KJV). We can spend our life seeking approval from many people. Young children may try to win approval from older siblings. Adolescents may try to win approval from a certain clique of friends. Teenagers may try to win approval from those of the opposite sex. Young adults may try to win approval from their parents. Working adults may try to win approval from bosses or clients. However, in the end, the only approval that really matters is approval from God!
One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is the book of Nehemiah, because it tells the story of a man focused on winning God’s approval instead of man’s. Nehemiah felt called by God to rebuild the damaged walls of Jerusalem, and he rallied a group of people together to help him accomplish the huge task. However, not everyone was excited about the plan. Nehemiah explains, “When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said ’What is this thing that you are doing?’“ (Neh. 2:19, NKJV). Thankfully, Nehemiah didn’t let their opinions distract him from obeying God! He answered, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build” (Neh. 2:20).
Nehemiah shows us that when we know our actions are approved by God, the opinions of others aren’t as important. Above all, we must be careful to obey God. Every day, we should ask ourselves if we were faithful to follow through with the desires He placed in our heart to do. You see, our goal in life should not be to become successful in the eyes of the world but to simply obey God and fulfill His purpose. That is the kind of success that God approves!