My singular goal for more than 50 years of my life was approval. Approval from my dad, his friends, school mates, teachers, my friends, pastors, clients, bosses, wives and girlfriends.
I despised being out of favor with any of them. If I fell out of favor, I would do whatever I could think of to get back in favor with them, regardless of the consequences to me. And wouldn’t be content until I felt I was back in their favor and had regained their approval. I put unrelenting pressure on myself to drum up ways to regain their favor. Not always with Godly means.
Jesus was living in my heart, and I knew it. But for all those years I believed having Jesus as my Savior was not enough. I always felt it needed Jesus plus something else. More prayers or more Bible study or more repentance or more obedience or more serving others or more seeking Him or more good deeds or more humility or more pure thoughts or more loving others.
I believed my salvation and sanctification were the result of Jesus plus something of me.
It wasn’t until I discovered my true identity in Christ that I realized Jesus was it. Jesus was all. Jesus was everything. I realized I was totally accepted, totally approved, totally, unconditionally loved just how I am.
Today I believe nothing is required of me other than receiving Jesus and the gift of His unconditional love.
And brothers and sisters, what a relief that is.