Not only do we think that we have to earn His approval, we live thinking that God is angry with us. Or, if He isn’t angry, He’s watching us like a hawk, waiting for us to mess up so He can bring the hammer down on us. This type of thinking comes from religious teaching that tells us everything depends on us. This same religious teaching also tells us that we’re not good enough. So, the whole thing is one giant trick, a lie from the devil. If it all depends on us, and we’re never good enough, then we’ll live our whole lives with an insecurity towards God and never step into the abundant life He has for us.
This isn’t what the Bible teaches us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This means that because of the finished work of Jesus we are approved of and accepted by God. We can stand before Him unashamed and unafraid because we already have His approval. He doesn’t save us and then expect us to jump through hoops. He doesn’t expect us to complete a twelve step program in order to earn righteousness. Look at what the verse says”…the righteousness of God in Him.” It’s not “in you” or “in your parents” or “in your work.” It is only in Christ that we are made righteous.
With people, you have to work to earn their approval. This is because of the world we live in today. The majority of the population walks around with the expectation that people are going to hurt them or use them, so everyone puts up walls in order to avoid pain and betrayal.
God’s reality is the polar opposite of this. Jesus went through pain and betrayal so He could tear down walls and bring us near to Him. God saved us by His grace and made us righteous in His Son. He doesn’t stand back from us distrusting us and expecting us to hurt Him. He gives us total access to Him and His promises.
We don’t have to pray wondering if God hears us, and if He does hear us, will He answer us? We are His righteous, approved children. He’s waiting for us to approach Him with confidence and receive everything we need from Him and Him alone.