Monday, November 14, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: When you are already approved by God

Already Approved
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“Everyone who believes has God’s approval through faith in Jesus Christ…they receive God’s approval freely by an act of his kindness through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free from sin.” – Romans 3:22a, 24 (GW)

As a recovering approval addict, I spent the better part of my life living to please others. I said yes to countless things I should have said no to. 

Attended many events I had no interest in, and really had no time for in my schedule, but feared hurting someone’s feelings by saying no. I apologized excessively, pretended to agree with others so they might like me more, and became a chameleon to whomever I happened to be around at the time. I avoided conflict at all costs and craved the praise and affirmation of others to feel validated and worthy. I never felt like I did enough or was enough. It was exhausting and felt like I was constantly auditioning for acceptance.

When I found Jesus Christ, you might think that character flaw would correct itself. On the contrary, it simply became redirected. My unquenchable need to please now sought to please a perfect and holy God, leaving me feeling increasingly inadequate. My heart began to wonder if I would ever measure up to the unattainable standards I strived for.

Then one day in my Bible study time I stumbled across a scripture that told me I already had the approval of God, not because of anything I had done but because of what I believed. It was an act of God’s kindness through the price Jesus paid on the cross. I literally felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had read many verses about my sins being forgiven and Jesus paying the price for my sins. Verses that reminded me that I was “saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that if I “believe in the Lord Jesus I will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Yes, while I had known for years that Jesus paid the price for my sins, reading it in that context changed everything for me. It completely shifted my perspective.

Instead of my works being an effort to earn the approval of my Savior, they became an offering of worship to Him. My efforts became an expression of gratitude to the One who voluntarily paid the price for my sins, who gave me approval that can never be lost. Instead of feeling like I was on a never-ending hamster wheel of sub-par performance, I could now give and serve with a cheerful heart that was secure in its status.

People-pleasing will likely always be a natural tendency of my flesh, but it shows up far less frequently than it used to. The Holy Spirit inside me is quick to squash any attempts of the enemy to seek the approval and acceptance of anyone except Jesus. Friend, if you have lived in the defeat, despair, and discouragement of approval addiction I encourage you to take your desire to be accepted and approved to the foot of the cross.

Allow the grace, love, and unconditional approval of our Heavenly Father to cut away any chains that seek to bind you to anything or anyone but Him. You are already approved and fully loved!

Let’s Pray:
Dearest Lord Jesus, thank You for accepting Your rescue mission even though it cost You everything. Knowing I have Your guaranteed approval that can’t be lost or forfeited by my failure to perform properly is freeing beyond imagination. Thank you for releasing me from the bondage of people-pleasing and God-pleasing. May my heart always be secure in my status as Your child and beloved daughter. I humbly and graciously receive the acceptance and approval You freely give. My gratitude can never be adequately expressed but I will forever pour it out to You in worship. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie who is devoted to living her life for Jesus Christ until the day she is living with Him.

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God’s Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your live life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

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