By Jessica Van Roekel, Crosswalk.com
Accepted in Christ
By Jessica Van Roekel
“Why did you make that decision? It was dumb.”
“Do you have to talk all the time? You have nothing important to say.”
“Why are you here? You’ll never qualify.”
Statements like these hit my heart like a broadhead arrow released from a compound bow. My heart heard that I was stupid, unqualified, and should be silenced. To stop the bleeding, I attempted to be whatever made someone else happy. I qualified or disqualified myself based on other people’s opinions. My opinion of myself got tangled like sheep’s wool on a thorn bush in the woods.
How about you? Do you carry the burden of heart wounds that make it hard for you to see yourself as God’s beloved and chosen child?
We can note several things from Ephesians 2:10 that can help us see ourselves the way God sees us. First, we are God’s workmanship. In the original Greek, workmanship literally means “a person of notable excellence.” That might be hard to receive. One look in the mirror, and we might keel over laughing. Or our resume might reveal that we can’t seem to stick with something long enough to be excellent at anything. Maybe we think that since we don’t have a talent, then excellence can’t be used to describe us.
But God says that we are excellent because he made us. We are his prized creation. He made you. He made me. He calls you excellent. You are his notable treasure.
Second, God’s creation of you is in Jesus. God’s love for you caused him to give up his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross and rise from the grave so that when you believe in him, you will be saved. His love, before you said yes to him, was infinite. He didn’t start loving you when you believed but before you believed. His love for you doesn’t grow greater after you believe but starts out as an infinite love that doesn’t diminish or change.
Third, God re-creates you in Jesus. Part of what this means involves putting off the old creation—past sins and any messages about inabilities and inferiority. He uses what he’s already put in you—your personality and potential—to bring you to your full capabilities in Jesus. Through your surrender and cooperation, Jesus works in you rather than you pursuing someone’s positive opinion of you.
Fourth, God created you for good works, which means that he has a purpose, a plan, and a place designed just for you. Comparison to what other people do or disqualification of yourself based on what another person says about you distracts you from the discovery of God’s plan for you. God placed potential in you. As you trust him to release your potential through your willingness to work hard at whatever he puts in front of you, he will bring about an amazing change in you.
When we can take these important facts to heart, our confidence grows in God’s acceptance of us. God calls us an excellent creation, he loves us with infinite love, and he has a purpose for us to fulfill. It won’t matter what other people say about us or if they turn away from us because we know that God accepts us.
God doesn’t use a sliding scale of acceptance, either. Someone else’s opinion doesn’t mean we’ve failed. Our own failures and mistakes don’t remove God’s acceptance of us. As we confess our struggles and choose repentance, God’s forgiveness flows into our lives. We don’t have to disqualify ourselves because we allow our missteps to confirm the negative words someone spoke to us. Instead, we can reach for God’s forgiveness and remember that he accepts us.
Intersecting faith and life:
Do you have messages in your memory that prevents you from taking Ephesians 2:10 to heart? When you base your merit on other people’s opinions, you set yourself up to struggle to receive God’s acceptance. But when you base your merit on God’s infinite love for you, you can take steps toward replacing the negative messages with God’s truth: you are the work of his hands—most notable and excellent.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/ipopba
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.