At church tonight, I walked away with a main idea completely unrelated to the message. That’s Jesus, I guess.
Church is probably the most socializing I do all week, and sometimes, the crowd gets to me. Why is it when I try to wave to people, they never see me and wave back? Oh my gosh, lull in the conversation, ask them how their week was… is it just me, or is she wayyyy more excited to see him than she is to see me? Crap. What did I do? And so my train of thought goes.
Tonight, though, Jesus spoke to me loud and clear: Live for the Gospel, not for approval.
The lie of approval says this: You are worth whatever those around you say you’re worth. Some mistakes just need to be covered up and denied, because if they weren’t, you wouldn’t be welcomed. Life is a competition that you are bound to lose. If not enough people love you, then you are doing something wrong.
The truth of the Gospel says this: Your worth is determined by the Universe’s King whose Son hung on a cross on your behalf. You can be forgiven and accepted no matter what. You have been uniquely equipped to live out your story. Loving people is a much better purpose than being loved by people.
It’s this last point in particular that has been really getting to me. I overanalyze every greeting and conversation, wishing that I could be better at a million things just so people would like me more. Popularity is an absolute idol, but it comes in the disguise of “being a good friend.” The truth is, I am vying for others’ attention and approval, rather than to show them how much Jesus pays attention to them and approves of them. Far too often, I live for my own belonging, rather than to make others feel like they belong.
Living for others’ approval is overwhelming, exhausting, and unfulfilling. But living for the Gospel is an exciting adventure that ultimately leads me to the truth: my Father approves of me so much more than I could ever understand. That approval is infinitely more satisfying than anything my people-pleasing habits could offer, and it’s my job to show others that their Father feels this way about them, too. This is the Gospel I live for, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.