The Approval Syndrome


The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the LORD is protected. — Proverbs 29:25


Sports today have almost consumed our society. Who can even imagine a world before Sports Center? It seems everyone lives their lives through other athletes and coaches—their successes and their failures.

In this highly competitive world, the approval of fans and media can be very appealing, just as their disapproval can be very discouraging. As a Division I basketball coach, my teams and I are often the subject of lavish praise or severe criticism. I constantly struggle with the “approval syndrome”—the need for the approval of others. If I strive for man’s approval, I become elated with success and despondent with failure.

The above verse gives me comfort as I find confidence and peace in knowing that the only approval that matters is that of Jesus Christ. When I have given Him my life, I am always pleasing to Him—win or lose—and in successes or struggles. This is a constant truth, not because of what I do or how I perform, but because of who I am. I am His, and that never changes.


1. What do you spend more time reading—your press clippings or the Bible?
2. Right now, whom do you find yourself playing for? Whose approval do you seek for your performance?
3. Have you ever felt criticism from man, but approval from God? If so, give an example. If not, describe a time when you would have liked it.


Extra Reading: Psalms 56:11; 62:8; 143:8; Proverbs 3:5


God, while it’s easy to forget and worry about what my colleagues, fans, family, and friends think about me, I choose to perform for an audience of one—You and You alone. I pray that all my actions will bring You honor. Amen.

Bible Reference: 
Proverbs 29