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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Creflo Dollar » Creflo Dollar - Overcoming Approval Addiction

Creflo Dollar - Overcoming Approval Addiction

Creflo Dollar - Overcoming Approval Addiction
TOPICS: Approval, Addiction, Self-esteem

I'm about to talk about something that I don't have to ask you to raise your hands. Maybe you don't know it, but everybody in here at one time or another has been impacted and affected by something called approval addiction. To be this kind of addict could derail the very call of God that he has placed on your life. It can also cause mental health issues. It can cause you to be so focused on the wrong thing that you find yourself at a place in your life where you're ready to end it all. Those irritations, those fear of rejection, the depression, the heaviness that most of us carry, it's rooted in this deal of being addicted to approval. Your teenagers suffer grossly if they're not getting the approval necessary through social media, through the number of likes and so forth, that I have come to recognize that our society is a society filled with a bunch of addicts that are addicted to validation and to approval.

My text for this morning starts off with showing you a man who did that. 1 Samuel chapter 15 and verse 24, and in 1 Samuel chapter 15, this is a story where Samuel gave a word of the Lord to Saul, and he told Saul to destroy and to kill everything. Every animal, every person in the tribe, everything was supposed to be killed. And Saul was so addicted to people that he chose to do what pleased the people instead of doing what pleased God. Lemme show you what happened here. 1 Samuel chapter 15 and verse 24, "And Saul said unto Samuel, 'I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people and obeyed their voices.'" He says, "I have sinned. I was afraid of the people, and so I gave in to them," another translation says.

One of the things you see here is that King Saul lost his relationship with God. He lost his kingdom. He lost his relationship with his son Jonathan. The Bible says that Samuel said, "Because you rejected the Lord, the Lord has rejected you". And why? This is how he explains it. He said, "I was afraid of the people so I gave in to them". But listen, he was the king. He had nothin' physically to fear from them. They adored him. In fact, some were actually idolized him as king. He sought their approval so much that he wouldn't make a decision he thought might reap their disapproval. No one had threatened him. He's the king. No one was asking him to do anything, and at this point it was all in his head. But what he thought could happen dominated him. His approval addiction caused him to act foolishly, and ultimately compromised his future.

If you continue to read the story about Saul, demons had got into his soul. And eventually he died. Now, look at John chapter 12. Lost everything. His entire future derailed because of approval addiction. John chapter 12 verse 42 and 43, he says, "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him lest they should be put out of the synagogue," 43, "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God". Of course, another translation says, "Many believed in Jesus, but they would not admit it for fear of the Pharisees". So there were a lot of the Jewish leaders that believed in Jesus, but they were afraid to admit it because they feared what the other Jewish Pharisees would say. The Bible says that they were more concerned to have the approval of man than the approval of God.

So when Jesus was here as the living, breathing Messiah, I mean, he was compelling. Nobody would doubt that. He was very compelling. Many more believed in him than the ones who actually, you know, followed him. They believed his claims. But they wouldn't follow him, and why? Because they were afraid of the disapproval of the Jews. They were more concerned to have the approval of men than to have the approval of God, and their approval addiction changed their destiny and it cost them their eternity. Changed their destiny, those who believed but wouldn't follow because of approval addiction, it changed their destiny.

Approval addiction has far-reaching consequences. In the moment, it lowers our self-esteem. It hinders our witness. It makes God's plan for us impossible to carry out because we're so addicted to the approval of others. And long term, it can cost us everything. And when we seek the approval of the group, we will always find it to be fickle and changing. Security and wellbeing are never found in chasing the approval of the crowd. It steals our eternal peace and it robs us of our relationship with God. Living for the audience of one is the way to satisfaction. It's the way to strength. It's the way to significance. And when you can lay your head on your pillow at night sensing that He is pleased, your sleep will be sweet, and your daylight hours are gonna be filled with purpose, because when you go to bed, you go to bed knowing that God approves of you.

So, that's an unusual way to give a text, but I wanted to show you that this is not just, you know, a therapeutic sermon. This is a serious issue in the Word of God. If you live under a burden of guilt, if you live under a burden of shame, if you live under a burden of condemnation, feeling insecure, feeling unrighteous, feeling unworthy, with low self-esteem and low self-worth, if you're having the incessant need for approval, validation, and acceptance from others, you are most likely an addict addicted to approval because you fear rejection, you fear judgment, you fear disapproval from others to the point that you try to avoid rocking the boat at any cost because of that approval addiction.

So let's get involved in this right now. What is an approval addict? How would you define an approval addict? It's someone who relies on approval of others for their self-esteem and their self-value, their worth. If you are relying on others and their approval of you to value yourself, to have self-esteem, to have self-worth, you most likely are addicted to approval. Approval addiction is the excessive need for approval. It's the excessive need for validation and acceptance from others. Approval addiction be very damaging to a person's self-esteem, and it can be very damaging to your self-worth, and it can lead to anxiety, it can lead to depression, and it can lead to other mental health issues. That's how serious this is.

And before you're so quick to say you don't have one, think about why is it that you feel so bad when somebody didn't approve of your dress, or approve of your comment, or approve of your husband or wife that you decided to marry, or approve of the decision that you made on certain things. I am here this morning to say don't believe the lie. Don't believe the lie that in order to feel good about yourself, you have to be approved by certain people. Don't believe that lie. You do not have to have somebody's approval in order to feel good about yourself. I don't need somebody's approval for me to do what God told me to do.

And there's a lot of approval addicts in the pulpit, that I won't say certain things because you might not approve of it. How many you know that ain't me? Boy, what? So, the lie is if I am approved by others, then I have value. That's the lie. If other people approve of me, then I have a high self-esteem, then I have value. You know where that's goin'. The preoccupation with how other people view us and seeking their approval can so consume us that it becomes an addiction. I'm so consumed about what you think about me. I used to go places and preach and after I preached, I needed to ask several people, "How did I do? How did you think they do it? What was goin' on here"?

I was looking for approval to feel good about what I preached. There were certain people that I knew and people that I respected and honored, I was so working hard for their approval. Oh, my God, what do I have to do to get their approval? Oh, they're not inviting me to their church because they don't approve of me. And then I'm working hard to get somebody's approval. How many you know you're workin' so hard to get somebody's approval, you're no longer thinkin' about the approval that God has given you, and you'll find yourself not carrying out what God wants you to carry out.

Lemme show you a couple of scriptures here. Galatians chapter 1 verse 10 in the NLT. Galatians chapter 1 and verse 10 in the NLT. This is strong. You know, kids want an approval from certain gangs or certain people and if I can get their approval, I have value. You wanna know why our society is the way it is right now? Because we're working hard to, you know, our value is based on who approves of me. He says in verse 10, Paul is speaking here. And the apostle Paul said, "Obviously, I am not trying to win the approval of people," I mean, 'cause Paul said some heavy stuff. He's like, "Obviously, you know I'm not tryin' to win the approval of people, but I'm tryin' to win the approval of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant".

You can't make pleasing people your goal. What your goal should be is the will of God for your life. I wanna know what the will of God for my life is. And then, go with me to St. John in the NLT, St. John chapter 5 verse 41 through 44. St. John chapter 5, 4... and I'm sharing all of these scriptures at the beginning, 'cause once I get started, I want you to know this is a biblical issue as well as a societal issue. It's big in our society. And I tell you, when I say that the greatest deliverance you could ever have is deliverance from people, I absolutely mean that. I am so free, it don't even make no sense. It really doesn't make any sense at all.

I was in New York in one of our major conventions with a flowered shirt on and some loud jeans. I don't need somebody's approval for me to wear what I wanna wear. Now, at one time I did. At one time, I wore the Bishop's collar around my neck... it ain't nothing wrong with none of that, I'm just sayin' for me to try to get my value and my self-esteem based on somebody's approval of me was distracting me from, you know, the purpose for which I was called, and the purpose for why I was supposed to be there. And I'm wondering how many of you are being distracted from the call of God, the will of God, the path that God wants you to go down, the plan of God, because somebody somewhere is, you're allowing them and their approval of you to determine your value.

I don't need my family's approval. I don't need my children's approval. I don't need to do what God called me to do. No. And we work hard to get our children's approval, to get our family's approval. You work hard to do that. You don't even think it's there, but it's there. You're worried and you're miserable as a parent because they won't give you their approval. I don't need their approval to do what God told me to do. I did what God told me to do. I did it the best I knew how, and I'm not waiting for the rest of my life to see if you're gonna approve of what I did. Because it distracts me from being who I need to be. And another thing, guess what happens? Shame comes, condemnation comes, all those things come because you're not getting the approval that you hear other people give, you're not getting that same approval.

Oh, they magnify this guy. Oh, he's awesome. Oh, they're that. And you're wanting that approval too, and when you don't get it, you become distracted and could end up losing the very thing that God gave you to bless you because you're so hungry for somebody's approval. That's an addict. May not be with marijuana. It may not be with different drugs, but you're an addict of the worst kind, an approval addict. And God wants you to be free from that today, praise God. He wants you to walk outta here today believing that you have value, believing that he has already approved of you, and if he has already approved, if God has already approved of you, you don't need nobody else's approval. Do what God told you to do.

I can't tell you how free I am. I'm so free, I can teach this to you today. It beat the snot outta me. And listen, I'm not perfectly there where this is concerned. I find myself like, uh-oh, what is that? I feel like I need their approval. I need their approval of me in order for me to have value. No. Look what he says in verse 41. This is so awesome. He said, "Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don't have God's love within you". See, you're tryin' to get approval from people who don't care. And that's why you try to buy somethin' you can't afford. Tryin' to get approval from somebody that don't care, spendin' money to try to buy somethin' that you can't afford just so somebody can say you're successful.

You buy a great, nice car so somebody'll say you're successful, but they don't know how bad you're feeling. That car is hurting you. It hurts when you drive that car because you got to pay this much money per month. You payin' more money for that car than... and you could be living, you could have a roof over your head, but you did somethin' foolish because you wanted to be valued by somebody who don't even care. They ain't got no love for you. Well, he says, "Your approval means nothin', because I know you don't have God's love within you. For I have come to you in my Father's name, and you have rejected me," Jesus said. "Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them". And that's what it looks like. You're facin' the deal of, ooh, they're givin' their approval to somebody else, but they won't give their approval to me, and then you start workin' for it. You start workin' for it.

Listen, I know everybody don't love me and don't like me, and I'm good with that. But there was a time I had this weird idea that I can get everybody to love and like me. That is insane. You ever put somethin' on social media and you expect for everything to be positive? There's always gon' be somebody out there... don't you dare put somethin' up there and say, "How do you like my sweater"? "Oh, that's nice". "Oh, that's beautiful". "Oh, you look like a china cabinet with that sweater on". "For I have come to you in my Father's name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can't believe. For you gladly honor each other, but you don't care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God". I'm tellin' you, this is a big issue here.

Now, look at 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 3 through 6 in the New Living Translation. 1 Thessalonians 2:3 through 6. We'll get into how this stuff operates, but I'm just showing you how we kinda missed it throughout the scripture. See, it's all over the scripture. 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 3 through 6, he says, "So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery. For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the good news. Our purpose is to please God, not people".

I say, I say, our purpose is to please God and not people. "He alone examines the motives of our hearts". Oh my goodness. "Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money. As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else". We want human praise. We wanna be able to make a rap song. We want human praise. We wanna be able to get the nicest tennis shoe. We want human praise. We want to get the nicest... we want human praise. And that is somethin' that is just in our society big time to where we will pretend that we're something that we're not so we can get human praise.
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