Let me give you an example. In the early 1980s, I was an associate pastor for a church job in ministry. And more than anything, I simply wanted to succeed.
Now, if you know anything about my personality, you know I can be extremely determined. And when I set my mind to something, I really go after it. As a result, I wore myself out becoming the "perfect employee." I made sure that I said and did all the right things. Because of my insecurities, I wanted to make sure there wasn't one thing the senior pastor could find wrong with me.
I'll never forget it. One day my pastor called me in his office. He look at me kind of funny for a while, then said, " Joyce, I just can't put my finger on it. You do everything perfectly, but there is something that's just not right."
He was a discerning man, and saw right through my attempt to gain his approval. I had indeed become the perfect associate pastor, but I did it all in my own strength... without the supernatural favor of God.
Do Your Best, Then Rest - Philippians 12:13 says, For it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
When we truly understand the favor of God, it takes away all of the pressure. Rather than trying to do everything for ourselves, we can simple do our best, then leave the result to Him!
This is why I pray daily for supernatural favor. God gives grace to the humble, and it is my one desire that His spiritual power will freely flow through my life and words and actions.
Remember, we cannot earn God's favor it is a free gift. And the way we accept it is simply by believing and receiving it from Him.
Since the day in my pastor's office, the Lord has helped me to realize the tremendous value of not trying to "earn" the praise or approval of others.
I've learned that doing His will, and doing it with His strength and favor, is what brings the most freedom to our lives...and the greatest glory to God