I just came across this verse and it blew me away. I had to look it up in multiple translations. Could it be true?? Is this REALLY in the Bible? Yes, yes it is.
“Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.” John 5:41-42 (NLT).
Wow, now this was Jesus speaking, not John. He does KNOW all things, so I trust Him that he knew. Seems like an extremely “judgy” statement for any human to say to any other human though. Who are we to judge? But, this was JESUS. He KNEW they didn’t and He had the authority to state it. He was speaking to the Pharisees after they were harassing him for healing the blind man on the Sabbath. Breaking the Sabbath rules.
In my journey to seek God’s approval over people’s, the text I tend to refer to is this one:
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10 (NLT)
Paul wrote that after basically cursing anyone, including himself, if they preach a different kind of Good News than the one they did that day, about Jesus being the only way ANY of us can receive salvation.
I love his boldness for Christ. And, I know he’s right. But, when I found the text Jesus spoke to the Pharisees today, I was reminded that if their approval meant nothing to Him because He knew they didn’t have the love of God in their hearts than seeking approval and guidance from those we know DO can’t be a bad thing. Rather a tool.
How do we know who does? Do they portray the fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23? And give Him the credit for it? Do they apologize when they don’t? Do they lift Jesus above themselves? Will they hear you out and pray that God speaks to your heart like they know He can, because He has? Do they love like Jesus? And admit He is the ONLY way?
Another way we can know who to seek guidance and approval from would be to ASK God. He promises to give us wisdom when we ask Him for it.
Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So he will give you wisdom. James 1:5 (ERV)
Ask Him who has the love of God in their hearts. This doesn’t mean God doesn’t love everyone. He loves everyone. But, not everyone has received that love to love themselves and others with it. Even if you have ONE of these people in your life, you are blessed.
In the same vein, stop asking those who don’t.
A person who HAS the love of God within them will not tell you what to do just as long as it benefits them. They may share their experiences and what they’ve learned through something similar. From pain comes wisdom. They may share something they receive after asking Him, but they’ll want you to receive that confirmation and peace in the answer too. They will ultimately pray His will and relationship into your life even if it’s not what they themselves would choose.
They may have Godly advice, but they will turn the hardest choices and decisions over to God speaking to you. They will KNOW He knows best, not them. They KNOW that your life path is supposed to be different from theirs. They KNOW you have a purpose to fill where God places you. And they’ll want you to experience the joy and peace and adventure that following Him over anyone else will provide. Even if it seems like the harder path, and it usually does. They’ll also know that you doing what He calls you to do brings us all one step closer to Jesus’s sweet return, because you will be getting His Word out wherever you go.
Jesus KNEW the Pharisees didn’t have the love of God in their hearts and actually said it, out loud. Ask HIM to help us know who does.
Many tend to give the “peace out” sign when it comes to seeking approval or guidance from anyone. But, remember, He did give us each other to be His hands and feet and ears and hearts. I am blessed to have some people who I have no doubt have the love of God in their hearts. I can tell by the way they love Him and me. So, these people are safe to ask. These people are safe to share with. Because I also trust they know I want a heart like theirs (His).