Even at my best my heart reeks of the innate desire to be approved by man. To my surprise, I am much more subject to this crippling desire in moments where I believe I am In fact immune to it. In his Goodness and mercy my father searches the intent of my action and shows me that whenever I shift my gaze from him I in turn seek to exalt my self in front of others. To the one who searches all hearts and knows me completely Psalms 139:1, you are my deliverer Psalms 118:5. Even when confronted with the ugliest parts of myself, you offer yourself to me and I find refuge in the abundance of your grace and forgiveness . Teach me to lift my eyes unto you, so in times of my greatest triumphs I may never exalt myself in a desperate plea to get what only you can provide complete acceptance and Love.
Complete Love and Acceptance
One of the hardest idols to identity is the need to be approved by the people around you. I think we all believe to some extent that we are immune to the desire to impress others. It becomes a challenge when the need for approval is embedded within our dominant culture of self worship which dictates the way we choose to talk, think and present ourselves to the world around us. Even at our best, there exists in us a needy version of ourselves that jumps at each compliment, each moment of praise and holds it dearly in order to feel a sense of worth and value. In our fallen nature we have looked to man to give us what only God freely offers us through his son Jesus Christ, complete love and acceptance not based on our performance but the nature of who he is 1 John 4:8.
The evidence of total acceptance and love is shown to us by the father through Jesus Christ who died for us while we were sinners Romans 5:8. In our wickedness he chose and accepted us in all that we were; sinners deserving the penalty of death. Yet in complete love he chooses to offer himself to us time and time again despite patterns of disobedience and rebellion we adopt throughout our Christian walk. At the root of our worship of the approval by man is the lack of understanding the depth, width and height of the love of Christ. In him we have the greatest love that man has ever known. A love if comprehended in truth has the power to revolutionize our hearts and change what we attribute utmost value towards.
May we have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Christ’s love is for us. Ephesians 3:18
Justification in the sight of Men
Regardless of the extent in which we go in acquiring the praise of man, none of it matters because unlike man God sees through our pretense and idol worship Luke 16:15. It is a form of worship because we attribute the utmost value to being accepted and loved by his creation as opposed to the creator himself. In the search for justification in the sight of men we forsake his salvation which promises complete love and acceptance. May God forgive us because we fail to comprehend that through Christ we have been justified unto God, the only justification that counts for something eternally Romans 5:1. May God help us to stop regarding man with the adoration that only he deserves. May we humble ourselves and seek to please him, the one who has justified us and declared us righteous Romans 3:22 even when we fail time and time again.
Exalt God alone
Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. Revelations 4:11
Whenever we choose to exalt ourselves in front of others in seeking their approval we are truly saying in our hearts that we value their adoration over everything else. The word of God repeatedly urges us to lift our eyes unto God in an effort to exalt the only one deserving all the worship and honor Psalms 145:3. The desire to impress none other than God is rooted in a distorted perception about our identity. The failure to regard man as merely the creation leads to the need for approval from immortal beings as opposed to an immortal being capable of loving us completely even in moments when we cease to do what is pleasing to him.
I thank God because he promises to cleanse us out of the worship of vain idols which includes the need and desire to be accepted and approved by man. May God help us to understand that no matter how much we labor for love and acceptance we will never find it until we lift our eyes up to him in repentance and surrender for searching in people what comes from the father alone, complete love and acceptance.