One of the most seductive traps into fleshly ministry is the belief that we must gain God’s acceptance by our accomplishments.

The accomplishments might even be spiritual goals—winning souls, building a Sunday school class, raising godly children. But if we undertake them to gain the Father’s acceptance, we’re working in the flesh and missing the joy of the acceptance provided through Christ.

The next most seductive trap is believing that laboring to gain other people’s acceptance is worthwhile. People are so fickle that laboring for their acceptance is truly a losing proposition.

Constant need for affirmation is an indicator of a self-driven person. When my motivation to serve the Lord is a desire to gain His approval or seek others’ validation, I will depend on my own resources—strength, will power, thought processes—to gain results. While I may see early success, I will eventually become frustrated and empty and then burn out.

Conversely, when I serve the Lord out of the joy of knowing I am already accepted in Him, I am positioned to receive His strength and see the fruit that only comes by abiding in Christ.

I am already accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6) and complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9). He calls me to love and serve others—not to seek their approval (Philippians 2:2–3).

When you become frustrated and overwhelmed, pause to ask, “Am I serving to gain acceptance? Or from the joy of knowing I already am accepted?”

It makes all the difference in the world.

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