I am a recovering people pleaser.
I don’t know what made me one. Why are some of us more driven to receive approval than others? What is the gaping hole in us that sucks us into the power of this nemesis?
Part of me thinks my hole belongs to my upbringing, but I’m not so sure I can blame it on my parents. I knew they loved me. They often gave me accolades–though my dad kept me aware of my humanity. He never sugarcoated my less than perfect singing voice or beauty. He told it as it was. And sometimes the truth hurt.
Though some of us fight this battle on a larger scale, I have a feeling that all of us hold a piece inside of us that finds approval important–especially when that approval involves our God.
We may not be aware of such need, because we only focus on the righteousness of God and our inability to measure up to His standards. It seems right to us. Biblical even.
We’ve lived our lives trying to be good enough though we believe in Jesus. But head knowledge and heart knowledge are two different things. We live with the knowledge of Jesus, but we’ve not internalized what He really did.
We accepted the “fire insurance” but we live spiritually handicapped on this planet because we don’t live out of the full assurance of His grace. We’re always trying to do better, be better, quit sinning. . . instead of resting in the hammock of God’s grace. (Click the blue words for more info on that!)
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).
This is what the Greek word for our “grace” means:
Charis: . . . acceptance, approval, generosity, open-heartedness, favors done without expectation of return, In reference to God, absolute free expression of His lovingkindness to men–His only motive is His bounty of benevolence as the Giver. Unearned and unmerited favor (Zodhiates, Key Word NIV p. 1686).
This is the throne we come to when we pray. A throne where there is acceptance and approval.
God accepts us.
He approves of us.
Yes, even after that disastrous moment when you yelled at your kids.
Yes, even after those unkind thoughts and words toward your neighbor.
Yes, even in our lack of faith and daily fumbles, He accepts us skinned knees, bruised, a steaming hot mess.
The verse above tells us we can come to the throne of acceptance and approval with confidence. Look at the meaning of the ancient word that was translated as “confidence”.
All out spokeness, that is frankness, bluntness–by implication boldness and assurance.
We can be blunt with God. Frank. Let it all out. Blurt out your frustrations. Lay them at the throne of grace with no fear of being zapped by the Almighty because Jesus is on that throne. And Jesus has lived in our skin and walked in our sandals (literally). He gets us. He died for us.
We can no longer let His death be in vain. Yet that is how many of us live. We accept His grace for eternity, but not for today.
So we barely stay afloat of this life. Surviving. Our ships sinking a little bit everyday in the ocean of “shoulds”.
But the Hebrews scripture promises God’s “help in our need”. It took English translators four words to replace the one Greek word Paul wrote. It was a word filled with imagery. Here it is:
boetheia – specifically a rope or chain for frapping a vessel- help. (Complete Word Dictionary, AMG)
If a boat is sinking or at least in trouble and needs help, a rope or chain is secured around the helm to bring the boat to safety. Boetheia. Paul uses this image to show us how God rescues us from life’s storms and engine failure as we come to the throne of acceptance and approval.
He reaches out, grabs our hand, and guides us home.
Does this encourage you?
Finding Purpose at the Throne of Grace,