Saturday, December 17, 2005

Your Acceptance By God


I have a theory. I'm not the originator of the theory, but I subscribe to it. It goes like this:

If a believer in Jesus Christ has not "appropriated" the love and acceptance of God for them, that is, if they have not grasped in their very heart the utter unconditional way that God loves them and accepts them, then they can't really grasp the love and acceptance of other people for them.

Let me say that in another way.

If a person feels unloveable, or...

If a person feels that others can't really love or accept them, or...

If a person feels that if someone really knew them, then they wouldn't love or accept them, or...

If a person feels like if they only could do such-and-such or be such-and-such, or accomplish such-and-such, or be good enough, THEN someone might be able to love and accept them...

Then I believe that person has not understood their acceptance in Christ by God.

They may be born again, saved from their sins, and biblically knowledgeable, but they haven't grasped the basic understanding of what their relationship is to the God Who loves them unconditionally. They may even know about God's acceptance of them intellectually, or logically. But they haven't "appropriated" it spiritually, in the heart.

Sometimes they just need to be taught it from the Scriptures and they blossom as the light dawns in their hearts. But other times it seems that a person must come to some crisis in their lives, some hopelessness in their own self-righteousness, some discouragement from imperfect people, some "whatever", before the Lord opens their heart to the glorious truth that He doesn't have a relationship with them based on performance. But it must be spiritually discerned, and so it must be taught over and over and over. Faith even for that, comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Meanwhile, if you have that gnawing feeling that you just don't measure up to the standard that would allow God to really love and accept you, if you are striving to please Him, and feel like you're failing to do so, listen: He loves you. Yes, you. Not just enough to die for your sins. Enough to dwell in you. Enough to "justify" you, to declare you righteous, just as if you'd never sinned. Enough to no longer have any condemnation for you. Enough to take you in His arms and comfort you with the truth that He fully, fully accepts you in the Beloved. Enough to call you His beloved, the apple of His eye.

And if you have that gnawing feeling that people can't really love you, or they sure wouldn't if they really knew you, understand that you feel that way because you have yet to really grasp God's love and acceptance for you.

Those who have the Spirit of God surely can love and accept you, even if you have a hard time accepting it, because love is a fruit of the Spirit. And you will be sky-walking when you come to the knowledge of God's love so strongly that you can say with all sincerity, "Even if no one else loved me, my Savior and my God loves me, and that's enough." And the irony is, that's when you may first be able to accept the love of other people like you never have before.

And then you can love like you never have before.

P.S. Critical: This is not psychology, this is theology. It falls under the heading "...Truth shall set you free." The application is "If you really appropriate the Truth of the love and acceptance of God for you, then you will be set free to receive the love and acceptance of others (and to love and accept others)."

Listen to "Grace For Life" Radio Program.

6 comments:

Bhedr said...

Thanks brother,

I think I am finally coming to a balance. I had so many teachings growing up in fundamentalism and it has taken me a while to get to the truth. That is all I am after, the whole counsel of God found in the Scriptures.

I think you are right here and I am just trying to harmonize in my heart all of Jesus' teaching as well as Pauls.

When I grew up some taught repentence while others condemned it then others said it was something else and then the ones that were against it were legalistic as well in other areas.

I may post a whole testimony so that you know where I am coming from in this area. Having said that I think I found a bible character that brings everything to life and covers all these bases in his story. Total depravity all the way to the love and acceptance of Christ that you so well spoke of here and that I needed to hear.

P.S-The picture you posted was one my best friend used to always have in his wallet while we were out in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm. He is a pastor now. It was a picture that gave us hopeful thoughts of going home to him facing dying in the war.

My mom told me not long ago that I was going through balancing. She is probably right. I have been hearing a lot of that word lately.

Terry Rayburn said...

Brian,

I appreciate you and your comments. Thanks so much for helping us all to sharpen each other's iron.

Blessings,
Terry

James said...

The same theory could be said for accepting and loving others. We always look at how I am doing to discover if I am acceptable and we do the ame for others to determint if they are acceptable.

Yet Jesus Christ loves and accepts all the same way. We need to be accepted and we need to be accepting as well.

Terry Rayburn said...

James,

Very true. Thanks.

Jana said...

Thank you. I am trying to learn what full acceptance really means. Love, Jana

Terry Rayburn said...

You're welcome, Jana. Thanks for reading and commenting.

May God continue to show you the wonders of His COMPLETE acceptance of you in Christ.

Terry