One of my friends has a little girl, under five years old, who picked up the phrase, “Don’t you just LOVE that?”
It melts my heart every time she asks, “Don’t you just love my shoes?” or “Don’t you just LOVE my dress?” It’s absolutely adorable! (Of course, it’s also so sweet when she tells you that she just LOVES whatever pink or sparkly thing you are wearing. I felt pretty special when she said she LOVED my pink hat.)
The thing is that it’s one thing for a toddler to walk around, asking, “Don’t you just love what I’m wearing?” The truth is that because SHE’S wearing it and she’s cuteness personified, I’m always going to answer “Absolutely!”
However, I’m not sure it’s as cute when a grown woman spends her life seeking the same approval and validation from others. Yet, so many women waste too much of their time looking for others to say they LOVE the way they dress, how they do their jobs, or the way they live their lives.
I’m ashamed to say that in my twenties and early thirties, I was one of them. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter if you LOVE how I fix my hair, what I wear, how I do my job, how I decorate my home or the choices I make. I’m not taking an approval poll about how I live my life. What matters isn’t if magazines approve or the culture says it’s acceptable. It’s a truth that many women discover as they age: “If I like it, that’s all that matters.”
However, while there is truth and freedom in realizing that you shouldn’t live your life seeking other people's approval, this statement isn’t complete. As a woman of God, the entire truth is that “If you like it, and Jesus likes it, that’s all that matters.”
Here is where too many progressive Christian teachers—especially in women’s ministry—teach a lie. Preaching freedom, self-affirmation, and self-actualization, they spread the message that “If it makes you happy, you should do it.”
They teach that it doesn’t matter what the church says…it doesn’t even matter what the Bible says…all that matters is whether or not it makes you feel good.
Disguised in the truth that you shouldn’t spend your life trying to please people (and because they usually use really funny and relatable stories to spread their lies), too many women believe the lie. They tell women, “God wants you to be happy….so if you like it, that’s all that matters.”
However, this statement is 100% against Biblical teaching. Ultimately, it leads people away from God and into sin. The result is either suffering the consequences of sin or choosing to backslide and walk away from God.
Although it sounds so sweet, so affirming, and so inspirational, it is actually a clever trap set by the enemy to destroy women.
So what is truth?
Paul sheds light on this subject in Galatians when he says:
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10, NIV)
While this Scripture clearly states that we should not live our lives to please people, it also clearly states that we are called to be servants of Christ.
The truth is as much as I enjoy the freedom to be myself and express myself, as a woman of God, I choose to submit all of my choices to the caveats of: “Would this please God and does it line up with His Word?” Because, above all else, this is the priority in my life.
As a woman of God, I try to apply this standard to all the areas of my life.
When I choose my clothes, I ask, “Holy Spirit, do you like this outfit? Am I presenting myself the way that makes me a good representative of You?”
When it comes to entertainment, I ask, “Does this choice of book or movie or music line up with the principles of God’s Word? Would Jesus approve of it?”
Does God approve of my language?
Does He approve of the way I spend my time….my money….my energy?
Would God want me to take this job?
How does God feel about this relationship?
How does the Bible say I should live my life?
Whether it be choosing friends, making purchases, or making life decisions, as a follower of Christ, my first responsibility is to seek God’s Will, submit to Biblical standards, and ask if God approves of my choice.
Then I try to submit to His direction.
If God approves, it doesn’t matter what other people think.
That’s where the freedom comes—when you know that you don’t have to live for the approval of others, but you are also sure that you are living under God’s blessing.
Then you can be 100% yourself—the woman God created and designed you to be.
This is where progressive Christian writers, teachers, and bloggers are wrong. It’s why they are dangerous. It’s why we need to be very careful who allow to influence our hearts and minds.
The truth is that God doeSN'T JUST want us to experience freedom from people-pleasing. He ALSO wants us to be women who are passionate about pleasing Him.
In every area of our lives, we need to be seeking His approval and asking Him, “Do you love this?”
If He does, that’s all that matters.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.