I’ve recently been listening to a teaching series to help me get better at writing. A person that loves Jesus and doesn’t tell you just what she thinks, but what God’s word says on the matter, is my kind of teacher. At the end of the teaching series, she spoke a blessing and words that caused me to weep. She spoke of approval and how we had hers. This might not be a big deal to many, but it is to me. It was something I use to long for, but never felt like I got. And then one day, it clicked – I have God’s approval and that is what matters. People change, sin causes hearts to harden, insecurity and brokenness have deep roots. I can’t dress my outside up enough, put on my best smile, say and do all the right things or have my kids behave perfectly to gain mans approval. It is not possible. In fact, it is down right exhausting.
One day, maybe 10 or so years ago, this striving for approval came to an all time high. You see when I am working so hard to get everything to appear just perfect, I put an enormous burden on my family. I didn’t see it at the time, but my husband did. It had been a typical Sunday and everyone looked just perfect filing into church. We left unruffled and behaved appropriately all during lunch. Then we got home. I don’t remember what happened, but I do remember the exact spot I was standing in when my husband spoke life changing, eye opening words. He said, “Natalie, you expect perfection and we can not live up to it.” That was it. His voice wasn’t raised and his love for me didn’t waver, but these words struck my heart in the very best way. Now, it took time to unravel a lifetime of living like this, but I know mans approval is not what I now seek.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10). Pretty much sums it up. Our approval could not have been made anymore clear than when God sent Jesus to die on the cross. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2). Want to hear more? “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). Does it get any better?
I desire to live worthy of my Heavenly Father’s approval. This takes discipline, time and a heart bent towards repentance. It is worth it! Do I get discouraged, sad, heartbroken, disappointed, afraid, angry, nervous or frustrated? Sure do. But you know what I am reminded of today? “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life was hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:2-4).
So, we press on having hope in what is to come. The life we have known is not all there is. The best and I mean the very best is yet to come! “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).