They to whom the Word comes in power know this deliverance, this inward migration of the soul from slavery to freedom, this release from moral bondage. They know in experience a radical shift in position, a real crossing over, and they stand consciously on another soil under another sky and breathe another air. Their life motives are changed and their inward drives made new.
What are these old drives that once forced obedience at the end of a lash? What but little taskmasters, servants of the great taskmaster, Self, who stand before him and do his will? To name them all would require a book in itself, but we would point out one as a type or sample of the rest. It is the desire for social approval. This is not bad in itself and might be perfectly innocent if we were living in a sinless world, but since the race of men has fallen off from God and joined itself to His foes, to be a friend of the world is to be a collaborator with evil and an enemy of God. Still the desire to please men is back of all social acts from the highest civilizations to the lowest levels upon which human life is found. No one can escape it. The outlaw who flouts the rules of society and the philosopher who rises in thought above its common ways may seem to have escaped from the snare, but they have in reality merely narrowed the circle of those they desire to please. The outlaw has his pals before whom he seeks to shine; the philosopher his little coterie of superior thinkers whose approval is necessary to his happiness. For both, the motive-root remains uncut. Each draws his peace from the thought that he enjoys the esteem of his fellows, though each will interpret the whole business in his own way.
You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:4
The desire to please men is back of all social acts from the highest civilizations to the lowest levels upon which human life is found. No one can escape it.
Let our desire for approval be for Your approval, Lord.