Jesus IS a deliverer! No matter what your struggle may be, no matter how severe, I am grateful that there is POWER in the NAME of Jesus to break the chains of bondage, deliver us from our sin condition and transform our lives. And throughout my life, by the grace of God, I’ve seen so many people delivered in so many inexplicable and miraculous ways because JESUS IS A DELIVERER! Despite what skeptics and non-believers may say we serve a savior with unquestionable power to produce deliverance in the lives of his people, a God that can deliver from death AND disease, from religion AND rebellion, from aggravation AND addiction. And I believe that, I affirm that, I believe that JESUS IS A DELIVERER!
But in spite of all of that, I have to admit that there is one thing that I have rarely seen people delivered from and that is our humanistic desire to be accepted and approved by people. As a matter of fact, it seems to get worse after we become Christians. Many of us will go to extraordinary lengths just so that we can feel the adoration and acceptance of others. And whether you are able to admit it or not, at some point most of us, if not ALL of us have done something, gone out of our way, to gain the approval of people.
NOBODY wants to be an outcast, no one wants to be ostracized, and no one wants to be marginalized. Deep down EVERYONE wants to feel accepted! EVERYONE wants to feel APPROVED! Many of us have exhausted our efforts, and given the best of ourselves in an attempt to make ourselves GOOD enough, RIGHT enough, VALUABLE enough so that we can gain the acceptance of people. We may not want to admit it but deep down we want our parents to be proud of us, we want our co-workers to respect us, we want people in the church to believe that we’re REALLY holy, we want our friends to love us and feel like they can count on us. Deep down either have searched or we are searching for approval.
But have you ever noticed that no matter how hard you try to be accepted in the eyes of people, you NEVER find the validation that you’re looking for? You can try to show people how good you are but somehow you’re never good enough, you can try to show people how gifted you are but somehow you’re never gifted enough. You can try to show people how giving you are but you can never give enough, you can try to be a good friend but somehow people are never satisfied and we end up finding ourselves locked in a cycle of one-sided relationships, running on empty because we’ve exhausted ourselves running a race for approval that we can NEVER win.
That’s why I thank God for the GOSPEL! Because the Gospel teaches us that we may never hear our parents say that they are proud of us, we may not ever hear our friends say that they love us, we may not ever hear co-workers say that they respect us, but if we place our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ then we have gained the approval of a Holy God and that’s all we need! The Gospel teaches us that we may not be good enough, we may not be smart enough but when God sees us, he does not see our inadequacies, he does not see our flaws and my failures, he doesn’t see our sin and my stain but when God sees us he sees the sacrifice of Jesus and he declares us, APPROVED!
This is amazing news because now we don’t have to be ruled by what people think about us, we don’t have to worry about what people might say about us, we can be delivered from the fear of the disapproval of people because now we know that if we have placed our trust in Jesus, we have finally found the approval that we’ve been looking for.
Now I don’t have to live a double life, stressing myself out in an attempt to please people that can’t be pleased. The truth of the Gospel frees me up to be my authentic self, to love myself, flaws and all and rejoice in my weakness because I now see that God relates to me not by works, but he relates to me by His grace.
In the days to come let’s free ourselves from the never-ending battle for approval and let’s rest in the knowledge that though we may be flawed and imperfect, we have been loved, accepted and approved by a limitless God.
Grace and Peace