The Pleasures of God, the Praise of Others
By Christine Hoover
The more I know God and what he thinks and says, the less it matters whether others are impressed with me.
It’s almost unexplainable, the sense of satiation and completeness that invade the heart when our eyes are fixed on the cross. At the cross of Christ, God declares not only that we are forgiven, but that we are family. He calls us children, beloved children. There is a tenderness and enduring love that characterizes our Father God.
When I am not fixed on this grace, I am almost obsessed with the praise of others, which makes me assume only condemnation from them.
Ocean Depths to Puddles
I know, in fixing my eyes on the approval of others, I turn away from an ocean of approval and belonging found in Christ and turn towards the puddles of human praise. But sometimes the approval of others drives me, and it drives me right into anxiety, fear, and self-sufficiency.
As I read the Bible, however, in an almost tangible way, God puts his hand to my face and lifts my chin to look at his grace. And then I am at rest again. It is well with my soul.
The more we know God and what he thinks and says, the less human approval and praise will disrupt us. We must get this right, we must look to his grace toward us, because there is a second part of this, another side to the coin, and it’s this:
The more we know what God wants for us, the less it matters what others expect from us.
Too many times, we don’t see grace in God’s heart, and so we don’t go to him for the approval and love he offers freely. We are blind because we don’t know the very heart of his gospel.
Arms Full of Grace
When we grasp grace, or at least attempt to stretch our arms out toward the ocean, we recognize that our focus has often wrongly been on what we think God wants from us. He wants our service. He wants our holiness. Both are true, but when not driven from knowing the heart of God, we just try and try again to please Someone who is already pleased in us because of Christ.
Grace shows us God’s heart, and what we see is that his heart is for us, and that he wants the best for us, and that everything flows from this heart.
And if God is for us, who can be against us? If God is for us, we only want to be for him, we only want to rise to be who he created us to be.
And the more we know what God wants for us, the less it matters what others expect from us.
The Heart of the Cross
Every single day, we must turn to look at the cross and remember what was done there for us. We don’t just remember the agony, but we look at what Christ accomplished for us. He opened the door of the Holy of Holies and introduced us into an intimate relationship with the Father God who loves us perfectly.
And so the only way to freedom is to swim in grace’s ocean and to know the heart from where it flows.