MAN APPROVED OF GOD
It is quite normal for individuals to desire approval of their efforts. Young people appreciate approval of their parents, teachers, and friends. A husband or wife may long for the approval of the other for his or her efforts. Employees desire the approval of their employers. And the aim of businessmen is to gain general approval of their products or services. Although some individuals freely express appreciation of others, there may often be no expression of approval of good work accomplished or of a contribution made.
Of this lack of uniformity in the voicing of human appreciation, we read in I Peter (2:20 ), "What glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."
Christian Science shows each one of us how to merit the approval of God and encourages us not to be disturbed by the lack of appreciation in men. Mrs. Eddy writes in "No and Yes" (p. 40 ): "The apostle James said: 'Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, to consume it on your lusts.' Because of vanity and self-righteousness, mortals seek, and expect to receive, a material sense of approval; and they expect also what is impossible,—a material and mortal sense of spiritual and immortal Truth."
Each act of ours in agreement with God's requirements carries with it God's approval. Paul said (II Tim. 2:15 ), "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Christ Jesus, the best man the world has ever known, did not receive the plaudits of the world. In fact, he was generally disapproved by worldly thinkers, for his teachings were in condemnation of the evils common among men. But our beloved Master was not here to court the approval of men. He was here to serve God, to heal and save humanity, to bless them, yes, to bless even those who cursed him.
Speaking of Jesus, Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 42 ), "Though entitled to the homage of the world and endorsed preeminently by the approval of God, his brief triumphal entry into Jerusalem was followed by the desertion of all save a few friends, who sadly followed him to the foot of the cross."
When our hearts cry out for personal support or approval, let us remember our Way-shower. Let our every thought and act be God-impelled. Then we shall enjoy divine approval, and we shall not grieve over lack of personal approval.
God does not know, nor can He approve of, hatred, self-will, self-pity, lust, dishonesty, and the like. An individual who expresses such traits as these is not, to the extent that he expresses them, acceptable to God. He has in belief separated himself from God and suffers from this departure from true selfhood.
To demonstrate spirituality, one should know himself as actually pleasing to God and should conform his human actions to the eternal demands of God. God requires us to be loving, and this activity we should maintain, even though there be no appreciable response to our love. God requires us to be pure, and this quality we should maintain in thought and act, even though others may look with disdain on our efforts. God requires us to be wise, and we must conform our actions to the edicts of divine wisdom.
One who is expressing what does not merit God's approval still has the authority in Christian Science to correct his thoughts and life. He has the capacity to spiritualize his thinking. He has the ability to understand God, infinite good, as All-in-all. He can, if he chooses, acknowledge the ever-presence and omnipotence of God. He can recognize the infinity of divinity and the perfection of all true creation, including his real selfhood.
The individual can awaken to the truth that man is perfect and eternal now, because God, his source of being, is perfect and eternal. He can accept competence as an inherent quality of his true being, and through that knowledge, he can reject as unreal all incompetence in his experience, all that does not bear God's mark of approval.
When one is earnestly desirous of recognition of his selfless service by those with whom he deals in daily life, and is working for promotion to a higher level of responsibility, let him first honor God, from whom all true approval comes. Let him honor God whether or not he is recognized by men. There should be no hurt feelings, no pride, no willfulness, no impatience in one's dealings with others. One needs to seek only God's approval and be grateful for every evidence of God's presence and power in his experience. This will tend to open the way for the full demonstration of the power over error that gives evidence of divine approval.
Jesus was, as Peter declared to the men of Israel, "a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you" (Acts 2:22 ). May we follow Jesus' footsteps and thus merit God's approval! Let us constantly "study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God."John J. Selover