Saturday, December 28, 2019

As One Approved...not by Others

I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15

Egged on by my children to prove I’d endured years mastering the basics of piano, I sat down and started playing the C Major scale. Having played very little piano in nearly two decades, I was surprised I remembered! Feeling brave, I proceeded to play seven different scales by heart one right after the other. I was shocked! Years of practicing had imprinted the notes and technique so deeply in my fingers’ “memory” that they instantly knew what to do.  

There are some things that can never be forgotten. But God’s love for His children is far more deeply imprinted than any of our fading memories—in fact, God can’t forget them. This is what the Israelites needed to hear when the exile left them feeling abandoned by Him (Isaiah 49:14). His response through Isaiah was unequivocal: “I will not forget you!” (v. 15). God’s promise to care for His people was more certain than a mother’s love for her child.

To assure them of His unchanging love, He gave them a picture of His commitment: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (v. 16). It’s a beautiful image of God’s constant awareness of His children; their names and faces always before Him.

Still today, we can easily feel overlooked and forgotten. How comforting to remember that we’re “etched” on God’s hands—always remembered, cared for, and loved by our Father. - Our Daily Bread for today, December 28th 2019

For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:18 

It is common for all of us to seek approval for our actions. As children, we longed for the affirmation of our parents. As we grew older, we also valued the opinions of our friends, colleagues, and employers. At times, the esteem of others can claim such importance that it becomes our way to measure our worth as a person. But Paul said that he was not striving to obtain the approval of people. Some of his critics thought their criticisms could determine what he did. Yet these same people were praising themselves for their own opinions and behavior. They were seeking the approval of others, and they were receiving it. Jesus said that those who seek to gain the approval of other people “have their own reward”(Matt. 6:2–5). Paul, too, realized that achieving the praise of others is not difficult, but earning God's approval is a far greater accomplishment. The affirmation “Well done!”that Jesus received from the Father became Paul's goal as well (2 Tim. 2:3–5). Paul knew that self-approval is not hard to attain. Paul himself had once been pleased with his own life, until he came to realize that the righteousness he was so proud of was mere rubbish in the kingdom of God (Phil. 3:8). After his conversion, Paul understood that God's evaluation of his actions was what mattered, not his own opinion of himself. Whose opinion matters most to you? The commendation that matters most is the one that comes from God. The pleasure that your life gives to God should be your motivation to live righteously. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

I confess that for much of my life, most of my life, that the approval of others meant a great deal to me.  It's exactly as Blackaby put it.  We grow up craving it from parents, then are taught in some form to seek it from others in order to gauge our self worth. 

Certainly this is the farthest from the truth. 

I have told, rather flippantly, several in recent months of not caring concerning certain things in my life.  It's not that I didn't care, I just didn't care.  

It's not to attribute it to being unfeeling or truly numb towards situations or people, because it's not. 

What is it then?  It's that I think I am learning that the only one who's opinion matters, the only one whom I look to for approval, is Jesus.  I don't need the approval of anyone else.  In Revelation we read of Jesus, the faithful and true witness, saying "Well done".  It doesn't read, "Well done. Based on the personal interviews of those who you knew in life plus my own recommendation..."

It means that only one person is the important one to seek approval from. 

Paul got it right after learning it himself.  Like Paul, it's taken most of my life to get it. 

We all take cues from those around us. Of continuing a conversation or ending it, based on reactions. 

Look at Paul's writing.  He got past that really quick.  He would rather let the truth be heard (since in those days the letters he wrote were read aloud publicly) than to try to spare feelings.  

We have all read or watched settings in a courtroom.  At times witnesses are pleading with the Judge to let someone go.  Or when the bad guys are cornered into confession.  Emotions run rampant when there's no where to go or when the truth screams to be told of how someone feels. 

In the court of God, all men are found guilty of sin.  Only those who have received Salvation through Jesus Christ have Him as their Defender in Court.  The verdict is read.  We who are relying on Him, stand at that moment.  Hear the verdict of "guilty as charged". Then Jesus steps out from behind the table and says "Judge, this one is one of Mine. I take his place."  

Think on that one scene very hard.

If you haven't received the free gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ alone, you will be trying to defend yourself.  History records one of the greatest statements on that one point.  "He who defends himself in Court has a fool for a client."

Jesus did all the work to save. He died and arose again.  Sits at the right hand of His Father.  

Our approval should only come from Him.

Remove and Replace.  That's how you improve your life.  Remove the things you do or things you have and replace with right actions and right stuff.  Even if it means taking a loss on it.  Scripture says 'cast away from you'. Other places say to burn it.  Still others, to destroy it.

Take every thought captive.  

This is a process.  Not a destination. 

Live your life seeking the approval of Jesus and you will find a deeper relationship with Jesus.  

Seek the approval of others and you will leave Jesus standing and waiting. 

Look at your life today. Look to see just what is really important.  Because if your life is full of stuff that isn't, it means you are telling Jesus He's not that important to you after all.  He died for you but this or that is more important.  Watch your thoughts. As the movie quote goes your thoughts can betray you. 

Seek a deeper relationship with Jesus.  I promise you, you won't be disappointed. 

No comments:

Post a Comment