Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ACCEPTED

Have you ever struggled with being accepted?  Ever felt like you were not quite good enough in someone else's eyes? 

I have.  I have struggled with that most of my life.

Growing up I always felt like I was on the outside looking in around my peers.  I had a terrible inferiority complex.  At home, I lived in the shadow of a "perfect" cousin who always did everything right.  She was so talented, so smart, so pretty.  In high school, I remember our home ec teacher remarking to me just a few weeks into the semester (having had the perfect cousin prior to me) "Well YOU certainly aren't ________, are you?" 

As a Christian, I have felt like I have failed way more than succeeded.  BUT....the good news is that in God's eyes, if we have put our faith and trust in Christ, we are ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED!!!  Ephesians 1: 5,6. 

We are not accepted based upon our performance.  That is hard for us to grasp sometimes because we live in such a performance-based society.  Our acceptance is based on the finished work of Christ.  We are accepted "in Him".  We are not accepted by what we have done, but rather what He has already done in our behalf on the cross.

When we can really get that through our heads, it will change the way we live.  No matter what I DO I will never be good enough.  I will never measure up to Christ's standards.  But I don't have to because my acceptance is not based on my measuring up. 

My desire to measure up, to be obedient, to follow Jesus is not to "perform".  It is to bring glory to Him...to put HIM on display!!  There is NO good thing in me....except Him!  But, if I live according to His Word, it puts HIM on display and draws others to Him.  It is not about me, it's all about Him!! 

William R. Newell in his classic "Romans, Verse by Verse" put it this way:

"[Man] has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!  He is not on probation.  As to his life past, it does not exist before God; he died at the cross and Christ is his life.  To believe and to consent to be loved while unworthy is the great secret.  To 'hope to be better' (hence acceptable) is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.  To be disappointed with yourself is to have believed in YOURSELF [not Christ's finished work].  To be proud is to be blind!  For we have no standing before God IN OURSELVES." 

"Until the Christian is absolutely and scripturally sure of his standing, he is not going to do much standing."  Miles Stanford, Green Letters.

Today if you have spent your life trying to measure up to someone else's standards or your own, if you have felt "less than" more often than not, if you have found yourself performing to gain God's approval, STOP!!
Today embrace the glorious fact that you are ALREADY  ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED!!!  Go forth, therefore, and live in the light of the glorious fact that it is CHRIST + NOTHING. Stop "performing" to measure up, but rather be obedient in your walk and put HIM on display!!

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