Written by 8:00 am TENACIOUS TUESDAY

Living From Approval, Not For Approval

Let me ask you a question: What do you think God feels about you right now? Irritation over your flaws — that tendency towards gluttony, or your inconsistency to getting up each morning to pray? Does God want to withdraw due to our failures — the impatient word with a wife or child; the angry outburst provoked by someone cutting you off on the freeway? Does he look down with a cosmic frown of disapproval on you, so prone to wander and full of weakness?

It is certainly easy to think so. When we consider the repeated sinfulness our lives display, it’s hard not to imagine that God is consistently exasperated with us. Heck, we’re displeased with ourselves, how much more so the righteous judge of all the earth? 

How should we understand what God thinks about us?

First, remember Christ’s death.

When we trust in Christ for forgiveness, something amazing happens. Paul explains it in Ephesians 2. Once you were dead. Think corpses. Dried out bones chained by sin to the walls of a deathly prison. Without hope and without God. But God, being rich in mercy, took us from our prison of death and made us alive together with Christ. He clothed us in white robes of righteousness and sat us down in the heavenly places in Christ. Truly, the ultimate rags to riches story!

But it’s no fairy tale. God didn’t ignore our sin. He judged it by pouring out his wrath on his Son. Christ took our punishment and gave us his righteousness. And that really matters for how God sees you today.

Secondly, remember Christ’s life.

So what does God see? He sees Christ’s sinlessness. He literally sees thirty-three years of Christ’s perfect works dripping off of us. Since Christ lived a perfect life and died a perfect death so that his perfect record of righteousness could be credited to imperfect sinners, this perfect record is what God sees when he looks at us.

No wonder Paul says, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (Romans 4:7–8).

Understanding this magnificent truth will transform how you think about the present day and your future dreams. It will set them free.

Lastly, remember God’s approval.

We so often spend our days seeking approval. We want to be applauded and esteemed. We live for praise. We attempt great things because we crave being celebrated. Selfish ambition is often a desperate quest for an earthly “Atta-boy,” a drive to fashion a world that worships me.

The gospel brings us explosive news: our search for approval is over. In Christ we already have all the approval we need. His righteousness has been transferred to us! All the time and energy we once squandered trying to be liked or validated can now be redirected toward doing things for God’s glory. 

We no longer live for approval; we live from approval.

Let me reiterate this good news, in case it hasn’t sunk in. The riches of Christ’s obedience in life and death frame out how God thinks and feels about you right now. You’ve been set free. Walk today in the light of God’s smiling countenance and dream of ways to serve and honor him.

Tenacious Question of the Day

How should knowing that Christ’s righteousness has been given to you transform the way you think about everything that is on your plate for the day or the week ahead?


Heavenly Father, guard from shackling myself again to the prison of approval-seeking. Remind me today of how you see me in Christ and help me to walk in joy-filled freedom.

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Tags: , , Last modified: June 14, 2024