Over and over again in His Word, God tells us He loves us. We read it and hear it and for the most part we believe it. Yet deep down inside the hidden places of our hearts many of us think we must somehow earn it, and so we live our lives trying hard to win His love and approval. After all, how could a perfect God love someone who doesn’t live up to His standards?
We don’t have to look far these days to find the evidence of our universal need for approval. Social media has fed that need - offering a platform for those longing to find a measure of fame and recognition. A video gone viral, a post that receives thousands of “likes,” a popular YouTube channel all satisfy that need but only for a while. It’s hard work this earning people’s approval, and when the audience dwindles so does our sense of worth. So we climb back on the merry-go-round and try a little harder.
The irony is, God, the One who created all things and knows all things and is holy and perfect in every way, loves us just the way we are. There isn’t one single thing we need to do to earn His approval. We can believe it. We can rest in it. We can stop the exhausting, impossible task of trying to be good enough to earn His favor. We already have it.
The enemy uses our need for approval to his advantage:
“If you are an approval addict, your behavior is as easy to control as that of any other junkie. All a manipulator need do is a simple two-step process: give you what you crave, and then threaten to take it away. Every drug dealer in the world plays this game.” Harriet B. Braiker - Who’s Pulling Your Strings
There is a far better alternative:
“Christ continually shouts through the universe, "You have a love that is already yours. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You have nothing to prove to Me. You are significant and preapproved and utterly cherished. Not because you are 'good,' but because you are Mine.”
Jennifer Dukes Lee, Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval
The Lord has given us a priceless gift. The knowledge that we are loved and approved just as we are frees us to be all He created us to be.
“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”