When we’re around people that we know don’t approve of us, we act differently. We don’t show our real personality. Our natural instinct is to avoid eye contact and maybe even leave altogether. If we don’t shrink ourselves to avoid being noticed, we’ll act bigger than we are. We’ll be louder than normal. We’ll try to make ourselves more noticeable to show that person that we aren’t affected by them.
Insecurity is the root of both of these responses. We feel insecure around people who don’t approve of us, so we act out of character. We sometimes do this with people, but how often do we do this in our relationship with God?
We avoid Him. We don’t go to church, pray or read our Bible because we think God doesn’t approve of us. We’ve got it in our heads that He’s holding some past sin against us and that trying to talk to Him is a waste of time, because He wouldn’t listen to us anyway. This kind of thinking comes from a sin consciousness. It comes from not knowing, or not believing that we’ve been made righteous in Christ.
Ephesians 1:6 says “To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (NKJV). This verse is proof that when Jesus suffered, died and rose again, He made us acceptable to God. It was by His grace and not our works.
We have to stop thinking that God is like people. People will hold things against you. They will hold grudges for years without giving a second thought to forgiveness. God, our Father, lives on an entirely different level than people. He doesn’t hold our sins against us. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says “that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” The chapter finishes by saying “He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
We saw last time that righteousness means we are justified and have right-standing with God. It also means that we now have the ability to stand in God’s presence unashamed without any feeling of inferiority.
This means that we don’t have to avoid God. He’s not like the people who don’t approve of us and sit across the room and think of all the ways we’ve wronged them. No, our heavenly Father joyfully accepts us in His presence. We don’t have to worry that He’s not listening to our prayers or waiting to condemn us when we step inside a church.
We are the righteousness of God in Christ. We are our Father’s children. He wants us to pray, read His word and enjoy His presence in church. He uses all these things to remind us that we are accepted and eternally loved by Him.