Creflo Dollar - How To Attack Approval Addiction - Part 2
Last week, we began talking about overcoming approval addiction which appears to be a pretty big foundation for a whole lot of other things to operate in people's lives. For example, if you live under a burden of guilt, if you live under a burden of shame or condemnation, if you experience feelings of insecurity, experience some unworthiness and low self-esteem, low self-worth, if you have an excessive need for approval, if you have an excessive need for validation, for acceptance from other people to make you feel valued; you're most likely an addict.
What type of addict? An approval addict, addicted to approval because you fear rejection and you fear judgment, you fear disapproval from others to the point where you try your best to avoid from rocking the boat at all costs. It's the scariest thing that you could experience. The fact that if I don't gain their approval, I'm probably gonna have to deal with feelings of a low self-esteem, because I depend on the approval of others to determine the value I'll have of myself.
Now that is involved in a lot of arenas, including the pulpit, including Christians. A lot of arenas in this area, in the day and time of social media, needing the approval of the social media platform with the comments and the shares and, it's all over our country. Where you are willing to do almost anything to gain the validation and the approval from somewhere else because you depend on that, now, that's the deal. Of course, it's fine to crave the approval of your parent and even to crave the approval of God, but to crave the approval of other people for the sake of your self-worth, that's when it becomes a problem. For the sake of your self-worth, that you have to be accepted by those people and not understand that God already accepts you.
It's huge and in some cases, if that approval isn't given and I continue to allow myself to be validated by that type of approval, then I could become angry. It causes mental sickness. I may even want to go out and shoot somebody because I feel that bad. And I'm just not getting it from anywhere. And so, this is a very important subject and I'd like to begin in the text we started off with last week and just go pick up last week's and get that and I'm gonna kind of continue on today for the sake of time.
In 1 Samuel chapter 15:24, we see King Saul allowing approval addiction to derail his whole call in life. It derailed the whole plan that God had for his life. And God had spoken to Saul, and there was a situation going on, he sent him to a certain place, and he said, "I want you to destroy everything. I want you to kill every animal, all the cattle, all the people, all the children; do it all". And King Saul was like, "Well, but what about the people? Here's what we're gonna do, you know? We're just gonna do what we normally do. We'll keep the best of it all," because it was a tradition that when you went into battle, you would get the best of everything.
And when Samuel showed up, Saul said, "I've done everything that you've told me to do. I've obeyed the Word of the Lord," and Samuel said, "Well, what meaneth this bleating I hear in my ear? If you did what I told you to do and obeyed the commandment of God, I wouldn't be hearing animals. What's all this"? And he kept giving more excuses. And then in 1 Samuel chapter 15 and verse 27, he says, "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 I obeyed their voices.'" I feared the people, and I obeyed their voices. Another translation says this, "I was afraid of the people, and so I gave into them".
King Saul lost his relationship with God, because he was addicted to approval. He lost his Kingdom, he lost his relationship with his son, Jonathan. And he explains to us why. "I was afraid of the people. So I gave into them". Like what do you mean you're afraid of the people? You're the king. I mean, he had nothing physically to fear from them. In fact, they adored him. In fact, they actually idolized him. And he sought their approval so much that he wouldn't make any decision he thought might reap their disapproval. Have you ever been there?
"I'm so afraid to say no. I'm so afraid to go against something because I don't want their disapproval of me". And no one had threatened King Saul, no one was asking him to do anything. At this point, all of this stuff was in his head. Like a lot of people today, and nobody even said nothing but a lot of stuff can get in your head. "They don't like me because of what I wear, they don't like me because of where I live". A lot of stuff in your head. But what he thought could happen dominated him, and today a lot of us, what we think could happen to us, it dominates us. They might not like us, they might not approve of us, and it dominates your thinking. His approval addiction caused him to act foolishly, and he ultimately compromised his future because of his approval addiction.
Now this is big, this is something that as Christians, we would like to sit here and say, "I don't have that problem". And yet, as I took an account of my life, I certainly did. I wanted the approval of my church. I wanted the approval of the conferences that I went to. I wanted the approval of the famous preachers and the big time folks, I wanted their approval. And in some cases when God told me to preach a certain thing, I'm like, "Oh, but this will displease them". And to compromise the instructions of God to please people will derail you.
So, this is why I have no problem standing up and teaching on what God said about tithing. I knew it was gonna displease a lot of people. But I got to see Jesus. This is why I decided to take a shift and begin to teach on the grace of God and the gospel of the grace of God. I knew it would displease a lot of people, but it's God telling me to do that. For me not to do what God commanded me to do, I would be in the same position as King Saul and my life and ministry would be derailed because I'm wondering about what the Body's gonna think about Creflo Dollar. I tell you, the greatest deliverance I ever had in my life was deliverance from people. And the greatest deliverance you'll ever have in your life, is deliverance from people.
And I promise you, when God puts it on my heart, I'm gonna say it. We'll work out all of those things later. And I love people so much, they'll get mad at me and call me and say they're gonna leave me and two weeks later they right back, they say, "Well, I don't agree with it, but I ain't going nowhere because I love you, and I wouldn't be where I was today without you". God knows how to take care of all that. What is it that he has spoken to you to do? How has he wired you to accomplish a call in your life? Your greatest answered prayer may be a result of you recognizing, "I am addicted to approval; God deliver me from it so I can stay on course," because approval addiction will knock you off course.
John chapter 12, verse 42 and 43, there were Pharisees that believed in Jesus's Word and they believe what he spoke, but they would not follow Jesus for fear that the other Pharisees would be displeased with them. That same thing happens today. There are people that God has called to World Changers Ministry, but they're not gonna come here in College Park because it may displease their family, it may displease their friend, it may displease their coworker to say, "I'm at Creflo church". And the same thing is true where the division issue is concerned, that maybe a white man will not submit to a black guy. Black folks love submitting to a white guy, but they won't submit to a black guy. Oh, was I too strong with that? That's the truth. But it's all because of approval addiction.
"I want the approval of people I hang around, and I don't want to displease them, so I will neglect what God's telling me to do. I'll neglect where he's telling me to go because I want the approval of the others". And so, you're derailed. What was it that God was gonna do with you at that white church? What was it that God was gonna do with you at that Jewish synagogue? What was it that God was gonna do with you? I remember when God told me, he said, "Go to a Catholic church and preach this," and I'm like, "Who"? There's a Catholic church in Chicago, a all-white Catholic church in Chicago. I went up there and I'm like, "Oh, I don't know what to do". He said, "Do what I told you to do".
Oh, okay, and I'll have you know, all glory to God, I had to repent and change my mind about the Catholics. They got up there, they started wavin' their hands, and when they said amen, it scared me. They said, "Amen, brother". I'm like, "Oh Lord, have mercy. We better have some church up here right now". And I got up there, and I gave a little jerk and then I said, "Oh no, no". See, you don't know how God will use you. Do not let approval addiction stop you from getting where God wants you to be.
So, what is approval addiction, once again? Someone who relies on the approval of others for their self-esteem and their self-worth. It's much like people pleasers. Approval addiction is the excessive need for validation and acceptance from others and approval addiction can be damaging to a person's self-esteem. Even more so it can be damaging to their self-worth, even more so, and it can lead to anxiety. Think of this, approval addiction can lead to anxiety, it can lead to depression, and it can lead to other mental health issues. And you do not want to allow yourself to get in that. And the thing we gotta learn how to do, is get the approval from God, amen?
John 12 and verse 43 in the NLT, let me show you a few Scriptures before we move on, because people who have an approval addiction, they are afraid of rejection, they are afraid of saying no. No becomes a problem. You have an approval addiction, somebody asks you to do something you don't wanna do, you're afraid to say no. "Well, you know," like I say, "You're coming to church tomorrow"? You don't wanna say no. You say, "I'll try". And, "I'll try," is an honest lie; you know you weren't gonna come. You apologize too much. You know, you fall down the steps and jump up and apologize to everybody. You have low self-esteem. You feel anxious about what other people think of you. You go along, in order to get along. Those are some symptoms of people who have a problem with this addiction.
Verse 43, John 12:43 in the NLT he says, "For they loved human praise more than the praise of God". And you can't love human praise more than you love the praise of God. Look at 1 Thessalonians 2, verse 4, in the NLT. 1 Thessalonians 2, verse 4 in the NLT. See what I really want you to get out of this series is, okay, if I'm gonna, if I'm gonna please anybody, let me please God. Okay? Verse 4 says, "For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with good news". Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our heart. Say out loud, "I please God". Amen?
All right, now watch this next verse, 2 Timothy chapter 2:15 in the NLT. 2 Timothy 2:15 in the NLT. I'm showing you this because I want you to see, this is not just a psychological issue. it is a biblical issue. He said, "Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the Word of truth". Basically, what I'm saying here is, if I'm gonna do anything, I'm gonna do it for God's approval. I'm after God's approval.
Ladies and gentlemen, we're all gonna die one day, please understand that. We're all gonna die one day, and when we step out of this physical body and we're absent from the body and present with the Lord, I mean, do you actually think it's gonna matter, the fact that you worked hard to please people? I wanna please God. I don't wanna stand before God with regret that I spent all my life trying to please people.
Now, there's a right healthy perspective of approval, you know? And like I said, you crave the approval of parents and you crave the approval of God. I mean, Jesus was baptized and a dove, and a voice from Heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, or, I approve of him". But I'm talking about the type of approval that you depend on to determine your self-worth. I'm talking about the type of approval you depend on to determine your self-esteem. So, if your approval level is low, your self-esteem is low? Seriously? For people who don't pay your bills? For people who don't feed you? For people who are not there for you, are you serious? Is it that serious?
And then you meet Waldo at McDonald's somewhere, and then you're trying to get Waldo to approve of you, and you don't even know Waldo. Waldo ain't got no job, Waldo ain't doing... Waldo, he ain't got no car. You met him at the gas station, but he ain't got no car. You're laughing, but that's how ridiculous it is, sometimes as we look at the effort that we're putting in to please others and not understanding how important it is to please God. And here's the deal with God, you don't have to do too much to please God, why? 'Cause he's already pleased. The day you believed was the day he was pleased. He approved you that day.
And now you got these platforms that are out there and, oh my goodness. You got a Facebook platform and that thing could almost crush you. You have a Facebook platform, your friends, they got 500 followers. Oh, they's got 600 followers and you got three followers. And you are about to enter into depression because somehow or another, you think that that determines your value. They call 'em "friends". They are not your friends, they're people who don't have nothing else to do. And your children... God bless her, she try to help me preach every Sunday, but I got it again babe, I love you. I got this one, I'd tell ya. I tell you when I need help and then you can come on up here and help me, but right now, I got this. Bless her heart. It is something that we've got to watch over where our children are concerned.
Our kids sitting out with that box, and they were real happy. and then they got that box and all of a sudden, something happens, you say, "Come and eat dinner". "I don't want nothing to eat". "Boy, who you talking to"? They just got rejected from people they don't even know, and it's affecting the moral fabric of our society. You never can tell. Some of these shooters used to be alive, now they dying, they knocking them off. But the ones that are alive, if you look at the trauma of rejection they have had, trying to seek somebody that will tell 'em, "You're okay, I approve of you. I am pleased with you". That's a basic human need. And if they don't have a mother and they don't have a father, and nobody's saying that, then they go and they try to get the approval from the gang and the gang says, "We will approve of you if you go shoot somebody".
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to try to figure out what's going on in this society, but we've gotta have a little willingness to go to God, get some wisdom and make some adjustments and not try to hold on to stuff because we've always held onto it. This is a whole different makeup right now. I apologize for hollering like that, but that's when I get excited. I start screaming and hollering and, then get home and wish I hadn't screamed and hollered so much. I'm amazed at the lives that are being destroyed and derailed over the effort of trying to earn approval from people that you don't even know, trying to buy things so that they can approve of you with money you don't even have. And trying to impress somebody who don't care.
The United States of America filled with addicts who are addicted to approval to determine their value. And one day God delivered me and he says, "Which is more important? The shouts and screams of a congregation to show their approval of what you're saying, or the silence and the peace and affirmation that you get from the Holy Spirit because you said what I told you to say"?
I tell you, Taffi and I free. We gracefully bowed out of the rat race of trying to be the most successful ministry on the planet. That can't be determined down here. That's gonna be determined when you get up there, bro. Your definition of success and God's definition of success; drastically different. Are you listening to me? Some causes of approval addiction, and often, we said last week in closing, that it's often sends from a person's upbringing or social environment. But we gave you a couple of 'em. Number one, a lack of self-esteem and self-worth. I mean when an individual doesn't feel good about themselves, they will seek the validation and the approval of others to fill that void that's in their life.