God’s approval is what we have always desired. Come on, think about it. We all want to hear God say “good job” or “I picked you out of a crowd” or many other versions of the same concept. We want to be loved and recognized by God. It is in our DNA. It is our nature. But the poisoned fruit really messed up our thinking. We decided that the best way to get approval from God was to impress Him. Maybe for others the impossible nature of impressing God was just too much and they decided to dismiss the whole idea. There are probably those who just decided to pursue the praise of man instead; that was easier. Actually the world teaches that the approval of man is what it is all about. What a lie! The TRUTH is we are accepted by God. We are approved by our Father in Heaven. We are hand-picked by our Creator. We are chosen by God for Jesus. We are His favorite kids. We are righteous. We are RIGHT! Jesus died to prove it and remove any barriers between us and the reality of our approval by God.
A few weeks ago I had an encounter I am not proud of. After some interesting exchanges with a man regarding the goodness of God, I realized that his interpretation of a good God was very different from mine. I asked a hypothetical question to understand his thinking. I asked him “would God run over a his children’s legs with a car to teach them a lesson about staying out of the street?” He said yes, if required. Then he started debating citing Paul’s thorn. God didn’t give Paul his thorn. (Check out this post.) I was done with debate and my reaction was not gentile, nope not at all. I felt an overwhelming urge to “defend God” and “stand up for what is right.” Probably a bad move on my part. My daughter later said I was mean. I tried to justify my reaction and say that I still love the guy (which I do) but I couldn’t stand by and not defend what is right, right? It really got me thinking and seeking God for answers. These last few posts are those answers. Let me explain:
Did I need to defend God? Did I need to defend His goodness? Really do you think that God is incapable of “defending” Himself? What was I really reacting too? Put yourself in my shoes. What would get that kind of rise out of you? God told me that “I needed to be RIGHT.” Ouch! That actually stings a bit. I had thought I was over the whole debate thing and the need to be right or win. Then God told me “you are already RIGHT.” Come on! That should bring a tear to your eye. We are already right. We are already righteous. God says we are His righteousness. We are His approval. Check this out:
2 Cor 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (NET)
If you remember from the first post in this series the word righteousness means “the approval of God.” Can you see it? We are not only right with God, we are not only approved by God we are what His approval looks like. When you are standing there in front of the guy who wants to beat you up with a debate you can know that you are what God’s approval looks like. You can say with confidence that you are RIGHT! Then you can look your debater in the eye and declare they are RIGHT too! You don’t have to agree with the lies, but you don’t have to win the argument to know that you are right. Get it?
OK, one more amazing revelation about your righteousness. Check out these verses:
Phi 1:9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (ESVST)
Phi 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — (ESVST)
Fruit of Righteousness? When you step into the approval spotlight, when you believe and trust what God has said, when you agree that you are right; you are abiding. You are receiving from the life giving vine. You are walking in the Spirit. You are like Jesus at His baptism. You have stepped into the beloved provision of your Abba. You have walked under an open Heaven of the beloved. The Holy Spirit is resting on you like a dove. You are positioned for a baptism of fire. Your righteousness is about to be manifest. You are about to bear all kinds of fruit from Jesus. Every debater is about to be silenced by demonstration. Every doubter is about to get a huge dose of the miraculous.
In Philippians Paul is writing to people under persecution. Like many others they are ready to give up and Paul is encouraging them. He shares his suffering, his revelation and the power of God in him. I believe his reference to the “day of Christ” is an outpouring of the Spirit. I believe Paul is saying that if we are patient and diligent and remain steadfast in the reality “God approves of us,” we will see more of Him in our lives. I believe Paul is preparing them for more and more from God.
There is this missionary to Mexico named David Hogan. He often says “I’m right.” When I first heard him say that I was a little perplexed. Then I heard him say “I know I am right because of all the miracles.” That caused me to really seek God for “what does he mean?” That, with my debater friend encounter, lead me to this revelation I’ve been writing about in these posts. God is for us. God approves of us. When we are diligent in believing and not wavering we will see Him show up. It will be miraculous. It will be our defense. I get to say I am right and God brings the proof. I believe that is what Paul was writing about. I believe that is what Peter was saying here:
1 Peter 3:13-18 If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God. (The Message)
Even Jesus made this statement to His disciples:
John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, but if you do not believe me, believe because of the miraculous deeds themselves (NET)
When we are walking in the spotlight of His approval we are positioned for amazing supernatural miracles. We are filled with His presence. We are walking in the Spirit. We know we are right but we will be able to say “I’m right” and point our debaters to the proof. That is my prayer…More Jesus! Please stop listening to the lies that you must work to make yourself righteous with God. Nothing is further from the truth. You are right with Him. He died to make it so. Stand up and declare “I’m Right” and know that amazing stuff is about to happen.
For those that think this is arrogance let me be clear. On my own I am nothing. In my own effort my works are filthy rags. In my wisdom I am blind to the truth. It is all Jesus. It is all Jesus in me. More Jesus! Oh by the way Jesus has used David Hogan to raise 32 people from the dead and heal thousands. I say that makes him right.