Approval Dependency - The Warrior's Journey®

Approval Dependency

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26) 

Does our media give undue attention to Hollywood celebrities and sports figures – while ignoring (or belittling) others who make significant contributions to our society and humanity? Well, if you’re feeling ignored by our popular culture and media, it might be a very good sign. The media is often a poor judge of character and true achievements.   

Consider this, in 1938 Time magazine voted none other than Adolf Hitler as its “Man of the Year.” It chose Joseph Stalin for the same title the following year, and a second time in 1942 – a man responsible for the deaths of 28 million of his countrymen. Wallis Simpson seems to have accomplished little in life except to woo a king (Edward VIII) to abdicate the Throne of England in order to marry her – while she was still married to her second husband. Yet that qualified her to become the first woman to receive Time magazine’s annual honor.  Pierre Laval, perhaps the greatest traitor to France in during WWII, was also selected as “Man of the Year.” Another flower of humanity honored by Time magazine was the Ayatollah Khomeini. 

Nothing has really changed. According to Jesus, only the false prophets were ever popular – because they were politically correct crowd-pleasers. The true prophets of God confronted the world because of its sins, and were persecuted or put to death for it. The same was true for Jesus. “The world … hates me,” said Jesus, “because I testify that its works are evil” (John 7:7). 

And Jesus warned His disciples that they would be unpopular with the world as well. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world. …That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19). But there’s a danger for believers who yearn for the approval of others or wish to be popular. James 4:4 warns us that “friendship with the world is hostility toward God.” In John 12:42-43 we read that many of the religious leaders who believed in Jesus refused to openly confess Him. Why? They could not bear disapproval from their peers. For, John tells us, “they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” We must, therefore, decide whose approval we desire more – this world’s or God’s. 


  • Do you feel peer or institutional pressure in the military to conform your Christian values and beliefs to something unbiblical? 
  • While the Scripture tells us to submit to those in authority (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17) what must we do when those in authority oppose biblical mandates? See Acts 5:29. 
  • Let’s be the best military servicemen and the best believers we can be. 

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