All of the idols objectify others in our lives to some degree or another. All of them use people to get what they need, but for Approval, getting what we need from other people IS the goal. No other idol seems to directly feed off of other humans the way this one does. And so the Eagle of the Spirit-Filled believer, noble and true is warped and twisted into the Vulture who feeds on the souls of men. Vulture and Eagle are even the same word in the Bible usually translated as one or the other according to context.
Approval and Power have fuzzy borders in many of our minds. It’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins. “There needs to be a fence here,” says everyone with a Control idol. Hopefully this helps. They began to take on a more distinct personality for me when i thought of them this way. There are two mindsets to our sins, dominant and servile. The dominant proud say in their deepest heart, a place so buried sounds in it do not reach the consciousness, there in the dark they whisper to themselves, “i am god!” The dominant has either destroyed the Lord in his mind, denying His existence or he sees Him but thinks himself His equal or even His better. The servile on the other hand, recognize they are not God, fear him but in their pride think they can justify themselves to Him. The statement in their heart of hearts is, “i am good.” Power desires godhood. Power is Lucifer’s own path. Approval would be content to just be worthy of God. But both are positions of Pride.
‘Well, what’s wrong with that?’ You ask. ‘Aren’t we all just seeking God’s approval? ‘Well done, good and faithful servant?’’ Well, yeah, no… maybe? Sort of? No, no we don’t. And here’s why.
We already have it.
Jesus is the good and faithful servant. Faith is believing, not only has his death taken the place of our death, but his good works, both past, present and future are ours as well! We already are good and faithful servants! In Christ! So a healthy servant at this point isn’t seeking anything but to bring joy to the Father in thanksgiving! Joy to his brothers and sisters, in praise! Love seeks the good of the other, always!
Approval does not love. Approval needs. The flow is not outward, no matter how much good it does for anyone. No matter how much work it does for the church. No matter how much happiness it even brings to anyone. Good deed, bad deed, all that it does for others, is ultimately only for Itself. The flow is inward. Incurvatus in se. Approval wants to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” yes. But not because it loves God. But because it hates Him and wants to deny His authority over it. Because it fears His rejection, Approval sees its inferiority, sees its need and despises itself. And then it despises the one who makes it feel small. It knows it cannot be a god, or so it thinks, it may even praise itself for its humility in thinking so, but what it seeks is to not be under God’s power but to be free of it! It wants to be the one being on this fallen world whom Jesus did not have to die for. Do you see it? Do you see how even in the church, this person whom so many will love for their “servant’s heart” can even set their sights upon Jesus himself’s approval and miss the Gospel entirely because they don’t want Him, the Way, the Truth and the Life, they want Him to think they are good enough as they are.
““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many miracles in your name?’ And then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matt 7