I read a tweet earlier in the week….then scrolled back and read it a second time….moved on….scrolled back and read it a third time. And I sat and I thought.
The tweet read, “The Father corrects the areas of our life of which He disapproves to remove all that hinders love in us.”
There is a time when I would have thought yep, that’s His job-and-there’s-plenty-to-
There is unspoken, corollary question brought to light in that tweeted statement. It reflects a fundamental difference in ground-zero beliefs about Who God is, what He thinks of us, and how He relates to us. In 140 characters (or less!) the author had unintentionally encapsulated the theological question as to whether or not in this present reality we are sons/daughters of the Most High… or merely His servants. Right now. In real time. When I – or you – walk into a room, is our fundamental identity that of being a son/daughter of our heavenly Father, or are we merely His servants attending to tasks, anticipating a future son/daughter-status when we leave these physical bodies and enter into the heavenly realm and our heavenly bodies, permanently?
As I sat in daughter-ship mode, I gave careful consideration to all the areas of my life and came up with an answer that I first discarded…then embraced: I couldn’t come up with a single area. Not one. Is that the answer that you came up with?
Let me clarify as to what I’m not saying: – I am not saying I am a perfect person. I am not saying that I believe there is nothing in my thinking, habits, actions or mindsets that don’t hinder love. I amnot saying that that I don’t have perceptions, biases, assumptions, or attitudes that don’t need to be removed.
But I am saying….just as you might….that there is no area of my life qualifying for the disapproval of God.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “…it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (I cor. 6:7-9, NASB)
I’m struck that somewhere in this passage was a great opportunity to include some form of the word “disapprove,” or the phrase, “God’s disapproval.” But it’s not there.
Not only that, but I subsequently looked up “disapproval” in Scripture. And “disapprove.” Not one reference in the New American Standard…or the King James…The Message lists one reference for “disapproval,” referring not to God but allowing “no disapproval” for a woman remarrying after her husband’s death (Rom. 7:1-3)…Holman Christian Standard, zero. The New International Version has one reference from Proverbs 24:17-18, regarding that “the Lord will see and disapprove” towards an attitude of rejoicing when an “enemy falls.” One. That’s it.
According to Merriam-Webster online, “approval” (a noun) means “the belief that something or someone is good or acceptable,” while “approve” (a verb) shakes out as “to have or express a favorable opinion of.” “Disapprove” equates to “believe that someone or something is bad or wrong; to officially refuse to approve or accept.”
“Opinions” and “beliefs” can be changed. Does God change His opinion or belief about us? I don’t think so.
Jesus states in John 8:29, “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things are pleasing to Him.” (NASB)
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:9, “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (NASB)
To the Ephesians Paul describes “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:10, NASB)
In Philippians 4:18, Paul describes a monetary gift from for provision as being “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.” (NASB) Children are told, in Colossians, that obedience to parents is “well-pleasing to the Lord.” (Col. 3:20, NASB)
Let me return to Ephesians 5; for therein, I think, is the key: “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them…” (Eph. 5:5-11, NASB)
“…walk as children of Light.” We have been given the responsibility to reflect who we have become through Him…”washed…sanctified…
We are all learning what is “pleasing to the Lord,” those things which manifest His indwelling Spirit to those around us…with no fear that He will change His opinion about us…