They loved praise from men more than praise from God. (John 12:43)
We all seek approval, but our sinful nature causes us to seek it in all the wrong places. We crave human praise, and we want family, friends, neighbors, co-workers – virtually anybody we come in contact with — to make a big deal over us . . . to make us feel important . . . to demonstrate that we have value.
What is so sad about this is that we are seeking the applause of man when we already have the approval of God. We need not seek God’s approval. We cannot earn it. We have it simply because God chose us in Christ Jesus before the creation of the world and saved us by the blood of Christ. Because of what Jesus did on our behalf, we have the Almighty’s approval, and there is nothing we can do to lose it. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Far too many people in the church today connect approval with accomplishment. They believe if they are successful in overcoming trials and tribulations . . . or are selfless in their service . . . or are sacrificial in their financial contributions . . . or perhaps all of these . . . then God will look favorably on them and give His approval. That just isn’t true! We do not prove our worthiness to God to earn His approval; we already have His approval simply because we are in Christ.
When the implications of this truth seize you, it is nothing less than life-changing. Almighty approval removes our guilt, our shame, our fears, our doubts, and our humiliation. God’s approval and acceptance go hand in hand. You are approved because of Jesus and you are accepted because of Jesus. It is all because of Him. You are approved and accepted because you are adopted into His family. When God looks at you, He sees you through the eyes of grace, clothed in the robes of Christ’s righteousness. You are perfect in His sight!
Now, here is an important truth to keep in mind: Inasmuch as we have the Almighty’s approval, it does not mean God approves of everything we do. God does not approve of our sin, but even in our sin, He still approves of us and accepts us as His children. God will discipline us for our sin, to be sure, as a father disciplines a child he loves, but he will never disown us. When we question the Almighty’s approval, we are denying what Jesus did for us through His sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection.
Here’s the bottom line: We all seek approval and acceptance, which is why we must keep our focus on Jesus, who not only approves and accepts us, He delights in us too!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!