We spend so much time and energy working to ensure that we maintain a favorable image in the eyes of others. We ride the roller coaster of emotions that takes us from the highs of affirmation to the lows of rejection. The pursuit of esteem in the eyes of others totally engulfs us and ultimately puts us under their control. Tireless labor is put in to cover and compensate for our blemishes and shortcomings. We change our fashion, speech, mannerisms, jobs, and even relationships all in the effort to secure favor in the eyes of people. The problem with this type of lifestyle is that it is exhausting. It is a prison that keeps us bound behind the bars of public opinion. It is a maze that we can become trapped in, never able to escape.
The truth is that the favor and approval of man can be a fickle thing. When you do what people expect you to do you are good. When you don’t do what people expect you to do you are no longer good. Is there a perspective that matters more than the perspective of other people? Is there an acceptance that is more secure than that which is whimsically given and taken away by man?
Yes there is!
Through the Lord Jesus Christ, God has made a way to eternally embrace everyone who repents of their sinful self-reliance and trusts in him. In Christ we are adopted into the family of God as sons and daughters. Through the death of Christ we have been reconciled to God and where there was once enmity, there is now peace. We are justified in the eyes of God not based on our own merit but solely based on the merit of Jesus Christ. As children of God we have a glorious inheritance that has been secured by the grace of God. In salvation we are loved unconditionally and accepted completely not because of who we are but because of who he is.
We don’t have to work hard to impress God and earn his favor. He has done all of the work. Because of God’s merciful work in Christ we can finally rest. We are free to retire from the humanistic work force of self-salvation. The bars of public opinion that hold us captive have been broken by God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm. As we learn to walk in the power of this truth we will still experience the rejection of man. We will still be tempted to work for approval. At times we will give in to the pressure of it all.
Our only hope lies in the one who knew us, loved us, and accepted us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Our restless souls find rest in him.