When we started the recent Proverbs 31 online Bible study, I really didn’t expect it to be applicable to my life. I was basically doing this study of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, for two reasons: 1) I enjoy reading anything written by Lysa TerKeurst, and 2) a group for ladies with chronic pain and illness that I’m a part of was doing the study.
Boy, was I wrong! From Chapter 1, God has brought things to mind that I hadn’t thought about in years, little things that happened to me and caused me to feel left out. Lonely. Rejected.
What I’ve faced was minor compared to what many of the ladies in our group have faced. But any form of rejection is difficult to live with because it attacks the person we are. It ruins our self-esteem. And this isn’t accidental.
Satan’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy our lives, and rejection is one of his most common tools.
Whether you experienced rejection from your parents, the very people God intends to wrap their arms around us and make us feel accepted, from others in your childhood or youth that made sure you knew you didn’t fit in, or as an adult, rejection results in emotional wounding.
As Christians, we have the resources to deal with these wounds. But God will not force us to bring our hurts to Him for healing. If we do, healing will come. Maybe not overnight, but it will come. But if we refuse to take these hurts to the Lord, they will grow and fester into major spiritual wounds such as unforgiveness, jealousy, and anger toward God.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the needed tools to “face it head-on.” We have discussed many of them in the last few weeks: honestly facing up to what happened or what was said to me, learning how to replace the lies with truth, learning how to cast down imaginations” (2 Cor. 10:5 KJV) about what we think other people are thinking about us, and learning to find our identity in our relationship with Christ, to name a few.
Today, I want to introduce what I personally believe is the strongest antidote against the bondage that comes from rejection: knowing that we are accepted in the beloved.
What does it mean to be ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED?
- To be accepted is to be received and approved with grace or favor.
- The Greek word used here for accepted is only used in one other place in the New Testament. In Luke 1:28, an angel comes to Mary to promise the birth of Jesus, and his first words are “Greetings, you who are highly favored!” To be accepted, therefore, is to be highly favored by God. Mary was to give birth the true Son of God, because she was highly favored by God, chosen out of all the Jewish women who were alive at that time.
- This same Son of God died on the Cross for our sin, was resurrected on the third day, later ascended to heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
So who is ACCEPTED? Why are they (we) ACCEPTED? The key is the last part of this phrase. We are ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED. God doesn’t accept us because of our good works. He graciously accepts us – though we don’t deserve it – because we belong to His dearly beloved Son.
John 3:16 makes it clear that God loves “the world”- all those who are a part of His creation. But to be accepted by God, we must be “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
I once heard this described as a bookmark, placed in a book to mark the spot where I stopped reading, but which has slipped down into the book so it is no longer visible from the outside. When I look for the bookmark, I only see the book in which the bookmark is now hidden.
Likewise, when God looks at those who have made Jesus Christ Lord and Savior of their lives, He only sees His beloved Son. For example, according to 2 Corinthians 5.21, since Jesus who had no sin became sin for us, we have become the righteousness of God. So when God looks at us He sees the righteousness of God, not our unrighteousness.
So to summarize:
- God’s acceptance of us has nothing to do with our spirituality or good works. If we look within, we will doubt God’s acceptance every time we fail to “measure up” to the inner standards we have set.
- God’s acceptance is constant, whether we are walking in the fullness of God’s grace or despondent because of our repeated sins and failures.
- God’s acceptance of us is only and always based on His love and acceptance of His Son, in whom our lives are hidden.
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Victorian England’s best-known Baptist minister, said in his devotion on Ephesians 1:6,(concerning our acceptance by God), “What a state of privilege! It includes our justification before God, but the term ‘acceptance’ in the Greek means more than that. It signifies that we are the objects of …. divine delight. How marvellous that we, worms, mortals, sinners, should be the objects of divine love!”
- Because we are hidden in Christ, when God looks at us He sees His perfect, sinless Son. Or as Spurgeon worded it, we “stand accepted in One who never alters, in One who is always the beloved of God, always perfect, always without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.”
Please join me in this prayer:
Heavenly Father, studying Your Word about our acceptance in the Beloved has opened my eyes to what an enormous gift this is. No matter how many times we have suffered under the rejection of others, we can be assured that we have been accepted by the only One who truly matters, Almighty God.
You loved us enough to send Your only Son to die for our sin and to make a way for us to be right with You. Because of this, we have a place of significance, in Your Son Jesus Christ. When You look at us, it is with eyes of love and acceptance, not of judgment and condemnation.
We are objects of divine delight! What a hard thing to grasp, as we look at our undeserving lives. Thank You, Heavenly Father, for making this possible through the death of Your beloved Son. Enable us by Your Holy Spirit to walk in light of this huge sacrifice You made for us, seeking to please You in all we do. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.