“But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you” (Matt. 6:33, GW, bold emphasis mine).
Approval. It’s a very real need. God made us to crave approval. However, most of us don’t realize that He intended to be the One to meet this intensely felt need.
So we spend our lives working strenuously to earn the approval we long for, from those around us. And since we were actually built to be profoundly fulfilled by Daddy God’s approval alone, the results of all those strenuous efforts never satisfy. We may experience a temporary sense of glow when we receive a compliment from someone, but that glow is ever so fleeting. Soon we are on the hunt for our next fix. Truly, this unending hunt perpetually fails to provide deep, abiding fulfillment.
Sadly, even as believers in Jesus, we many times continue to follow this same pattern. Even in our approach to living the Christian life, we do this. We take to striving, to trying really hard to do the right things for God, to jump through the right hoops for Him… restlessly hoping deep in our hearts that we will manage to somehow win His approval.
When all along, He already approves of us. In an incredibly deep way, He already does. We have born His stamp of approval since even before He created us. When He dreamt us up before setting the timeline of Genesis 1 into place, He already passionately delighted in us.
I think of it this way. I have a painting that I’ve been working on for over a year. Every time I look at it, it brings my heart pleasure. Not because it’s anything amazing by human standards, but simply because it’s mine. I put countless hours into it, and extensive amounts of creative energy. In much the same way, you bring Daddy God’s heart great pleasure, simply because you are His. Because He made you. He really, really likes you.
He thought you up an eternity ago. He planned with masterful precision how He would make you. Now, I realize that we humans sometimes scrap some of our attempts at creativity when they don’t turn out looking like what we envisioned before starting out on the project. Not God. He executes what He saw ahead of time in His heart with immaculate precision. He made you exactly as He wanted to.
And so, He delights with unspeakable delight in who you are. He approves of every huge and every tiny detail that He purposefully integrated into your design. He approves of you… completely.
Let your thirsty soul drink that in. Every time the depths of you starts crying out for approval, turn to Him again. Look up into His beautiful, delighting, approving eyes. Snuggle into His outstretched, inviting arms. Then listen as He announces exultantly to the four winds,
“This is My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased…”
Jesus pointed out a connection between finding satisfaction in the approval that comes from God, and believing (see John 5:44, above). What do you think that connection is? What does praise from God have to do with believing?