I love praying for you. I get excited imagining all God has for you, and how He might use your life for His glory.
Will you restore people’s bodies with medicine like Nani, or through massage therapy like mommy? Will you play music like Uncle Josh, or be a teacher like PaPa? I can’t wait to find out.
There are two things I can tell you about what you do with your life. The first is that God will use it to bring you closer to Him. The second, the devil will use it to lure you away from Him.
His method is simple. He’ll cause you to ask, “Is God’s approval enough?” Don’t be so quick to say, “Yes, of course.” You’ll be surprised by how much time you’re going to spend desperately seeking the approval of everyone but God.
Lewis, by now you should know what’s coming: look to Jesus and how he handled this question.
When God said, “…with him I am well pleased,” at Jesus’ baptism, God was validating his life. He was saying I’m proud of you!
So the gloves come off in the final round. The devil comes at Jesus the same way he comes at us. He doesn’t question anything. He offers what causes weak-willed people like me to question God all on our own.
The devil makes us question the will of God by offering us the desire of our heart.
The tempter takes Jesus to a high mountain, shows him the splendor of the kingdoms of the world, and says, “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.”
Lewis, there’s absolutely no way Jesus was tempted to worship the devil on that mountaintop. That’s not how people operate. That’s not how the devil operates.
The temptation wasn’t that Jesus might serve Satan. The temptation was that Jesus might serve himself. In time, however, the two would become one and the same.
What was the desire of Jesus’ heart? To do the will of the Father who sent him; that through him, the world would know God’s love. The devil was offering Jesus a short cut to what he really wanted: to be lifted up, that he might draw all men to himself, so that they would see the Father.
The devil’s propositions always spark questions.
“Isn’t that what God wants for you? Wouldn’t you be taking initiative to attain what God has called you to do? Since your aim is to make Him known wouldn’t this be making His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven?”
Jesus probably didn’t have these thoughts, but I would have. The devil wouldn’t need to twist scripture at this point, because I’d do it all on my own. St. Paul may have claimed to be the chief of sinners, but I can claim to be the chief of justifiers.
I pray everyday that God would allow me to impact my world for His glory.
In my twisted thinking I confuse the need for getting peoples’s attention with getting their approval.
Somehow, I’ve allowed myself to believe that if I can get people to genuinely love me then they’ll trust me, and then they’ll believe what I have to say about God. Then I’ll be fulfilling my purpose. Then I’ll make God happy. So the key to making God happy is to make other people happy first.
See how easy it is, Lewis? See how messed up your dad’s thought process can be? See why Jesus didn’t just respond, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God,” but made sure to include, “and serve him only”?
Jesus could have served himself, gotten the approval of the kingdoms of the world right then and there. He could’ve done it without even having to think about the cross. But that would mean he wasn’t thinking about you and me.
Lewis, by serving God, by putting his approval before everyone else’s, Jesus was able to gain the whole world without losing his soul. I want you to do big things. God wants you to do big things. But I want you to do them like Jesus: seeking God’s approval above all others. For what it’s worth, when you do, you’ll get my approval thrown in as well.
I love you, Lewis. God loves you more.
*This is the final letter in a series of four. Check out the first, Why Questioning God Is Normal by clicking here, the second, The Answer To The Question: Who Are You? by clicking here, and the third, God Loves Me? I Doubt It. by clicking here.
Who else’s approval, besides God’s, do you need to feel validated? Why? What do they offer that God doesn’t?
What is the desire of your heart? How could the enemy use that desire, however pure it may be, to draw you away from God?
Has God called you to something great for the sake of His Kingdom? Along the way, have you confused getting people’s attention with getting their approval?
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