Every human being desires affirmation and approval. If we are not receiving it, we will go to great lengths to find it. Hebrews 11:2 reveals a life changing truth. It is possible to live with the affirmation and approval of God if we simply trust Him. And when we live with God’s approval, we will not need the approval of others because God’s affirmation is enough. When we do not have God’s stamp of approval, we will go to extreme measure to make ourselves feel secure in the decisions and choices we are making. But there is this one condition for receiving God’s commendation. We must learn to live by faith. Those followers of God throughout history testify to us in the present that this is so. In fact, these first century Jews who were struggling to remain faithful have many ancestors who are the evidence of God’s endorsement. So, the writer says in Hebrew 11:2, “for by it the people of old received God’s commendation.” By what? By faith! Faith is the key to living with the approval of God. Then the author spends the rest of this glorious chapter giving example after example of the praise that we receive when we chose faith.
I want to remind all of us why this principle of God’s approval is so significant. Times of adversity accentuate our feelings of uncertainty and insecurity. It magnifies the reality that there is so much around us that is out of our control. When faced with these emotions and feelings , we have a choice. In fact, we have two choices that lie before us. In order to make ourselves feel better and more secure, we can seek the approval of the world around us and surround ourselves with token idols that give us the false impression of being secure. The problem spiritually with this choice is that the world around us will not approve or applaud our faith, but they will approve of human wit and wisdom. Beyond that, if we choose the praise of men, we will miss out on the praise of God. When we are not living with God’s approval no amount of world approval or token security can make up for our missing out on God’s commendation.
On the other hand, if we have a “thumbs up” from God then we are good and secure. There is no one else we need other than Him. In fact, in the few times in my life where God’s approval was all that I possessed, I realized in that moment that His commendation was all that I needed. I was totally secure, safe, and stable in Him. Apart from faith in God, we can never feel safe, secure, or stable. With faith in God, we need nothing else or no one else to make us feel safe, secure, or stable.
No every believer is going to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to hear those words from the Lord. Don’t you? Let’s live our lives on this earth for the audience and approval of One!