Approval…

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).

What exactly is Godly?

godly

I say I want Godly friendships, a Godly relationship, to be a Godly mother/wife/woman….but, what exactly does that mean? I am consistently reminded that I fall short of “Godly” myself. So, how can I have a Godly relationship when the other half of that relationship is me? I’m starting to realize that to be Godly is to view others as He does. Admitting our imperfections and accepting others. Fessing up when we mess up and leaning hard on Jesus in our weaknesses.

What is a Godly friendship? Does it mean we’re boring and have no fun? No. What it does mean is that we empathize with each other when we hurt, remind each other Whose we are, share joyous occasions, and laugh over the stuff we all have in common. A Godly friendship is a friendship that is anchored in prayer. Not competition. Not fixing each other. Not condemning each other. But, loving each other exactly as we are and where we are….as Jesus does. Celebrating growth and intimacy…..as Jesus does. Covering each other in grace when we fear judgment is what we deserve……like Jesus does. We should walk in the truth of who we are and remind each other when we forget.

What is a Godly romantic relationship? Does it mean it’s easy? No. Does it mean we won’t struggle with the same issues all relationships encounter? No. Does it mean we never disagree? No. What it means to me is that we view each other as God’s special, bought and paid for, son and daughter. How we view each other is different. This is what makes it Godly to me. Neither of us are like God, but look to God for help on how to love each other through whatever we are facing. Looking to God takes our struggles and rather than hardening our hearts, it softens them towards each other. We can be ourselves with each other. We celebrate the joys and recognize what brings the other happiness or frustration and act accordingly. We care about each other’s hearts.

A Godly relationship leads to a Godly marriage. And, having been through what I’ve been through, I would want nothing short of a husband who views me as God’s prized daughter, even at my worst. A treasure. This is what God intends for marriage. For the bride to be cherished. Knowing I am viewed and loved in this way allows me to be me. Open and honest about what bothers me. Which leads to a much healthier relationship.

What is a Godly mother? Is she perfect? No. Does she still have moments she looks back on and cringes? Yes. Biggest frustration being that she doesn’t know when it will happen again….because she knows it will. I’ve been getting more and more honest with my kids about what hurts, what I need from them, what I’ve been through, when I mess up, about my insurmountable need for Jesus in my life. They know that, to me, He comes first. As much as my heart aches when our relationships are strained, I can pour it out to Jesus and He reminds me who I am to Him. That brings me back to them renewed in my identity, regardless of their actions or reactions. I need that. Our kids can hurt us the most because we love them the most. Lean on Jesus when they do. Let Him love on you and build you up. Then, like we all do, head back in and carry on. It takes a love warrior not to throw the towel in sometimes.

Bottom line is we need to be ourselves. We need to be honest. We can’t be cherished for who we are if we aren’t being our true selves. If you have a friend, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, father, or sibling who loves you for you, prays for you, and views you as God’s special child, you have a Godly relationship. If you view others this way, pray for them, and point them back to the One who loves them most, you are a Godly person. And, I would love to be in relationship with you, which is another reason I share in this way. To relate, to connect with others who love God.

Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all. James 1:17

We may feel far from perfect, but we can be the perfect friend (gift) for someone who needs to know they are loved for who they are. Jesus wants us to not only know we are special to Him, but to let others know they are too. In our mess, He asks us to look to Him. In our pain, He asks us to cry to Him. In our joy, He delights in our praise to Him. He loves you with an everlasting love. A love like you’ve never known. A love waiting.