An inner stamp of divine approval, is like a the loving embrace of a parent who says, “You’re alright.” This affirmation of our Heavenly Father gives us the assurance and self acceptance we need. (continued…)
The gold embossed seal on the corner of my ordination certificate says that I’ve been recognized by my religious organization and approved for the work I’m doing. This document hangs on my wall as a reminder to myself and other that I’m qualified. God by his Spirit does even more than this, by placing the stamp of his approval on my heart. St. Paul says, God has… “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Without an inner confidence that my loving heavenly Father receives me in Christ, I try to earn that approval through religious works. However, this kind of performance faith only serves to reinforce in me the feelings of unworthiness I’m trying to overcome. My attempts to talk myself up or have others talk me up is not enough to shake feelings of self doubt. It is from God that we must first sense approval after which it matters little whether others do or not. In Christ he approves and accepts me so that I am able to forgive and accept others regardless of how they respond to me.
Saint John says, “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: ……..We know it by the Spirit he gave us. 1 John 3: 19, 24.
The lofty claim of divine favour will be mistaken by some as a form of religious arrogance. I suppose there are times when declarations of divine approval are used to promote a kind of self importance. Worse still, there are those who assert their divine privilege as they seek to dominate others in the name of their God. These attitudes are not the same as the blessed assurance I’m thinking of. Rather, a genuine inner capacity to feel approved by God is a gift that results in deep humility.
Since divine approval is given freely, my response is simply to ask and receive so that my joy may be full. In my seeking I have found it helpful to ask for mercy through Jesus and to request the Spirit to enable me to put my heart at rest in his presence.