Do you remember how important it was in grade school days to be accepted? And not just in general, I mean accepted by THAT group! I do. Maybe one of your children is coping with that right now. I want to be accepted by somebody. If it’s somebody at home that’s a good start, but not enough.
Realizing I speak but for myself, let me carry this out a little further. I’m going somewhere with this. Trust me? Accept me? 😀 The need for acceptance was an acute one for me. It followed me into Jr. High and held the door open for me my first day of high school. What’s he good at? How funny is he? Is he a good friend?
Discovering what I was good at provided opportunity to serve God, that’s true, but as I look back on things I can see too that the Enemy was regularly watering that acceptance thing with Miracle-Gro. What a sneak.
In time my need for acceptance, always a robust desire, outgrew some more important character traits. My drive, my zeal, my creativity, leadership skill —just about everything at some point or another— found itself tethered to (you guessed it) acceptance. Eventually I reached the point I was willing to break some rules when people I expected to accept me – didn’t.
The apostle Paul wrote to his friend Timothy’s church: …the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…
How sweet!! Oh I wish I’d have gotten my hands around that already-accepted-in-Christ concept back in fifth grade! “It’s OK, Jesus loves me and when God looks over here He sees I’m with Jesus and I’m fine.”
In high school Courtesy King runner-up, class president, award-winning musician and valedictorian could have been enjoyed without any of that “See? They have to accept me now, I excelled at something.” that lurked in the corners of my mind.
Innovation, creativity and excellence (I say excellence cuz we frown on perfectionists. More likely to be accepted that way) could have been enjoyable outlets of God-given skills without that little pop-up asking now and then “How well-accepted are you today?”
The next week or two as we enjoy family, friends, activity (and hopefully some INactivity), I’m going to keep “I’m already accepted” in the corner of my mind’s eye. He’s already accepted. She’s already accepted. I mean, the shepherds were the first to hear of Jesus’ birth, and theirs was about as low an acceptance-quotient as you could get in those days!!
I’m going to make sure I see the words every day at the beginning of the coming year: Already Accepted In Christ. Not to feed a sense of arrogance –heaven forbid– but to nurture the sense of peace everybody wants and some of us sing about.
When I see a long-lost friend again and hear that predictable “So what are you doing now?” I may just say “Nothing. Well one thing. I’m sitting on Jesus’ lap. He’s humming to me while we wait for what’s next.” (Dare me?)
It’s true! He loved me enough to take on human form and become sin for me. I’ve placed my faith in Him for my salvation and I’m intentionally living each day by faith in Him because He died for me and rose again. See? It really is true! I’m not doing anything anymore, Christ is doing it. He’s living through me. God sees me in Him when He looks this direction and I’m already accepted. How cool is that?! The only thing I need I already have!
Christ Jesus made it available to one and all!
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us . . .