From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 7 – Some more of the ways in which we must become faithful
The desire to be approved of, or to be popular, is another deeply ingrained craving in all of us. It will inevitably affect, or even control, our actions unless we make a determined effort to control and resist it. However, few people do that. Most of us live our lives in a state of fear, dreading disapproval, criticism or ridicule, and making whatever decisions are necessary to avoid these things. But that will rarely, if ever, cause us to go in the right direction, or to do what God wants. When difficult situations arise you will usually go wrong if your aim is to be approved of by others.
Instead, decide that the only approval that really counts is God’s. Seek always to do what He wants, regardless of whether anybody else approves, or disapproves, of you for that. This is very hard to achieve. Few even attempt it. However, if you are willing to do it, you will find it gets easier every time. The first few times where you risk disapproval will be hard, but as time goes by, you will begin to lose your fear of people. Then you will become free to do whatever God wants, without the fear of other people’s disapproval influencing your decisions.