One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to compare yourself with someone weaker or lesser. That’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.

When it comes to spirituality, we carry this over and feel good about our walk with God because “I’m not as bad as the other guy.”

But coming to Christ by His grace won’t work if we think that way.

We are saved BY GRACE … not by what we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). The standard is set by Him not by us. And because this is so, then it doesn’t matter if we are better than the other person because the Bible says that ALL have sinned and have fallen short (Romans 3:23)

I love how Max Lucado puts it in his book “In the Grip of Grace.”

Judging others is the quick and easy way to feel good about ourselves. A convenience-store-ego-boost. Standing next to all the Mussolinis and Hitlers and Dahmers of the world, we boast, “Look God, compared to them I’m not that bad.”

But that’s the problem. God doesn’t compare us to them. They aren’t the standard. God is. And compared to him, Paul will argue, “There is no one does anything good” (Rom. 3:12).

Suppose God simplified matters and reduced the Bible to one command: “Thou must jump so high in the air that you touch the moon.” No need to love your neighbor or pray or follow Jesus; just touch the moon by virtue of a jump, and you’ll be saved.

We’d never make it. There may be a few who jump three or four feet, even fewer who jump five or six; but compared to the distance we have to go, no one gets very far. Though you may jump six inches higher than I do, it’s scarcely reason to boast.

Now, God hasn’t called us to touch the moon, but he might as well have. He said, “You must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). None of us can meet God’s standard. As a result, none of us deserves to don the robe and stand behind the bench and judge others. Why? We aren’t good enough. Dahmer may jump six inches and you may jump six feet, but compared to the 230,000 miles that remain, who can boast?

The thought of it is almost comical. We who jump three feet look at the fellow who jumped one inch and say, “What a lousy jump.” Why do we engage in such accusations? It’s a ploy. As long as I am thinking of your weaknesses, then I don’t have to think about my own. As long as I am looking at your puny jump, then I don’t have to be honest about my own. I’m like the man who went to see the psychiatrist with a turtle on his head and a strip of bacon dangling from each ear and said, “I’m here to talk to you about my brother.”

Have you ever tried to ‘fish’ for approval?  I’ve done it so many times.

“I didn’t even sleep well last night … that’s why I only scored 10 points…”
“I wasn’t able to prepare much … that’s why I wasn’t as sharp in the presentation.”
“I didn’t get to practice much … that’s why I didn’t sing well today.”

Approval addiction.  What is it?
John Ortberg defines it as “living in bondage to what others think of them.”

How do we know that we are crossing the line of addiction?

1. COMPARISON

Approval addicts find themselves measuring their accomplishments against those of other people.

2. DECEPTION

Our concern for what others think about us inevitably leads us to shade the truth.

3. RESENTMENT

We crave approval too strongly, we inevitably come to resent the very person whose approval we seek.

How can we solve this problem?

2 Cor. 10:5 says that we are to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Part of it means refusing to allow other people’s approval or disapproval to dominate our lives.

We are to take captive every thought of wishing to impress, dazzle and amaze people.

Lord, set us free from man-pleasing spirit.