Recently I’ve been reading the gospel of John, and I stopped when I came to the above verse. My mind exploded with thoughts and questions, and responded in a way that I hadn’t expected it to. I wasn’t surprised to read that Jesus had God’s approval, and you probably wouldn’t have been either. After all, Jesus was perfect. His faith walk was not full of stops and false starts and humiliating falls, like ours often is. Of course God approved of him. But what about you and I? Does God approve of us? Apparently He does. The root meaning of the word ‘approved’ may surprise you. It means that something or someone has passed a test and has been proved acceptable, real, authentic and genuine. In Australia we say that he or she’s the ‘real deal’ or ‘walks the talk.’ This is what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he spoke of Apelles as being tested and approved in Christ (Romans 16:10). He later speaks about himself and the apostles as being approved by God (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
Ask yourself whether the apostles were perfect and free from struggle. I suspect that’s highly unlikely! In fact I would even dare to suggest that they had ‘clay feet’ like you and I. Perfect – no – but approved by God nevertheless, because they had hearts after His heart, and wanted to see His will and purposes outworked on this earth. They weren’t trying to please men, but rather their God. Is this your heart’s desire? Timothy was exhorted by Paul to do his best to present himself to God as one approved, a workman who didn’t need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15-16). To do so meant that Timothy needed to be faithful with the Gospel message entrusted to him, even if it meant disapproval by those who opposed it. It’s nice to have others approve of us and our choices, but it must be God’s approval that we seek as our first priority. Paul understood this. Timothy understood this, and, the older I get, the more I understand it too. Above all else I want to be approved by God and set apart for His noble purposes (2 Timothy 2:20). In the light of eternity it’s all that will really matter.
Prayer: Father God, we want to live lives that You approve of and bring You glory. Thank You that we don’t have to be perfect to do that, just willing. Amen.
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