My good friend and fellow blogger Dave N. has written a wonderful note on the loving acceptance of God, and how His opinion of us sets us free to live loved..and I wanted to share it here. These thoughts have encouraged me so much, especially the idea of God praising us and being so well-pleased with us, and the idea of leaving behind old lying voices of shame and enjoying the freedom found in God's acceptance - freedom to be ourselves, to live life with joy, to accept ourselves and others! Hope you all enjoy this note from Dave:
On God's Opinion of Us
by Dave N.
We just need to be forgetful people. So many believers are consumed with past mistakes but Paul specifically says:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing
I do, FORGETTING those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto
those things which are before,
Paul says, "This one thing I
DO....FORGETTING...." This is a very important practice we should
follow. We are to forget what is past but never forget what manner of
man/woman we are in Christ Jesus. We are not to walk away from the Law
of Liberty forgetting our glorious image we truly are (James 1:24)
but we truly have died to the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law will always
point a finger to condemn but the Law of Liberty only speaks glorious
When we focus on our sins is when are considered "blind" and have
"forgotten" that we had been forgiven of past sins (2nd Peter 1:9). So
many believers are consumed with some sin of the past (5 minutes ago or 5
years ago). This is why the author of Hebrews stated there is "no more
conscience (remembrance) of sins" (Hebrews 10:2) because of the once
for ALL (behold the Lamb of God which taketh AWAY the sin of the WORLD)
sacrifice. God remembers our sins and iniquities "no more" (Hebrews 10:17).
If God remembers no more then we are to "forget." We are to forget
what we were or what religion claimed we were and behold who we forever
are as sin has no room for display in our thinking. We are what He is
and not what we do.
"God has just been showing me this, how important it is not to pass judgment on myself (or others)"
This is where freedom truly lies. Romans 14:22:
"Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth."
Paul said this about himself in 1st Corinthians 4:3:
"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I JUDGE NOT mine own self."
went on to share how the Lord judges in verse 4 but we know that there
is no "condemnation" in Christ Jesus and that is why Paul said in verse 5
"...and then shall EVERY MAN have praise of God."
The glorious thing about the gospel of grace is that the verdict was
already passed before you or I even committed a single act. We are
justified, sanctified, and washed. The problem with behavioral
modification teaching is that we are constantly looking for approval by
our performance. Every person who says, "I am a good person" is
probably telling the truth but such a statement means that they are
hoping that God will one day pass the same sentence upon them by their
performance. Performance oriented thinking leads that person to keep
assessing themselves before God where they live in a state of
condemnation (Oh God, I did that sin again).
People live backward lives because of religion. We do not perform
to gain God's approval but we perform because of God's approval. Even
when we "think" we are huge failures is to know that we are always
"accepted in the Beloved" (accepted = well pleasing). We can be assured
that when we are judged by the Lord that "we shall have praise of
God." Acceptance always precedes behavior. Love always precedes
behavior. God loved us when we were sinners and Christ died when we
were enemies. We are that special to God.
Remember, we always sin but we are NEVER to associate them to
ourselves as they can no longer define us. People who worry over their
sins or performance before God will be a slave to low self esteem. God
highly esteems us and that means that if we never do another good work
for God is to know that we remain highly esteemed. We are and always
will be well pleasing to Him. We shall have praise from God. We are
the trophies of His grace. He is forever proud of us.
It's sad that much of our lives are spent trying to gain approval of
others. I cannot tell you how many times I daydreamed making myself
into something I was not as I would picture the world around me rolling
out the red carpet. I cannot tell you the freedom of forgetting those
things which are behind (either good works or my sins) and simply living
in the reality that I have all things in Christ. I no longer strive to
gain the worlds approval.
No believer has it better or worse than us as we all are complete in
Christ. I do not need the world to pat me on the back. I do not need
to esteem myself better before others more than I ought. This is why
pride goes before a self esteem fall. When we seek to live up to a
certain worldly or religious standard then experiencing a emotional fall
is to be expected. This is why so many believers hate themselves and
call themselves, "A good for nothing Christian." This is why so many
doubt their salvation because of the religious standards (law/bondage)
they strive to follow and when they fail is when they experience an
emotional fall that wears them out. It even wears out the legalist who
continually performs and seems to be doing a good job at maintaining
his/her religious duties but inwardly they are burning out..
We cannot live up to religious or worldly standards or we will
ultimately crash. Depression is often due to failed expectations. We
live trying to be accepted but that acceptance is almost always based on
appearance/performance. It is when we see God's loving hands embracing
us is when we can lovingly embrace ourselves and those around us. We
can embrace flaws. We finally allow chaos to be a part of our lives as
we can live without things being perfect. We can finally relax and
simply be ourselves. We can take off the religious masks and be the
very person we are. We can live life loved.
I am aware of my flaws but I no longer hold them against myself. My
poor self esteem was due to trying to live up to religious/worldly
standards. I now forget those things that are past and that includes my
so-called righteousness as but dung for the excellency of Christ. I
now see myself robed in the excellency of Christ and am satisfied.
The key to victory is throwing out those religious/worldly
expectations and live free.. "Cast out the bondwoman and her son
and live free!!!!" Living free lies outside of religion, law, and this
present world. We cannot be bound to any of those things because they
come with expectations/standards that follows with condemnation for
failure. The world, the law, and religion are critical and judgmental
of themselves, people, and their environment that will affect us the
same way if we follow. We are not to be conformed to this world (world
often refers to the religious system) but be transformed by the renewing
of our minds. Beholding our glorious image in Christ transforms us
into that same glory (2nd Corinthians 3:18).
We are to follow Paul's advice and not care what people think of
us. Let's not judge ourselves. The one thing that we are to do is
forgetting what is past. I like how the New Life Version translates 2nd
"Do your best to know that God is pleased with you. Be as a workman
who has nothing to be ashamed of. Teach the words of truth in the right
Do your best to know that God is pleased with you but
performance, past behavior, or even people's assessment of you has no
place in knowing whether or not God is pleased.