What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?
-- Matthew 18:12
A couple of years ago, I was in my room at my parents’ house, watching a video of Todd White preaching. I'd never watched anything of his before, but I felt led to watch this particular sermon (which had been recorded nearly two years earlier).
It was an amazing message (and there were several reasons why the Holy Spirit had me watch it), but there was one thing in particular Todd mentioned that has stuck with me ever since.
He said that because God had accepted him, the world could never reject him.
Because the world can never take away what it never gave.
Talk about powerful.
Especially for someone who'd spent the first 21 years of her life in search of acceptance. Looking back, I spent so, so much of my time trying to fit in and please everyone, in hopes that I would be accepted. By my friends, peers, teachers, mentors, etc.
It was exhausting.
And I never really felt like I belonged anywhere.
So, Todd’s revelation that acceptance doesn't come from those around me?
Well, that rocked my world.
And suddenly, the rock I was resting on was The Rock. The firm foundation.
Jesus left Heaven to come to Earth. Clothed in flesh, He endured this world so to forever tear down the veil that separated us. He was mocked, ridiculed, tortured, and killed.
And it was more than a grand gesture.
By His grace and His blood, I was accepted.
I was adopted.
He gave me a name.
And He calls me His, now and forever.
With all that in mind, how could I ever let someone or something here on Earth negate what Jesus did for me? That power and authority belongs to Him and Him alone. And when it comes to accepting others, who am I to reject those around me?
Because He left the 99 for the one. And that one is me.
But it's also you and your mom and your brother and your sorority sister and your mentor and your neighbor and your co-worker and your daughter and your husband and your best friend.
Acceptance isn't something I can give.
And it’s not something you can give.
And it's not something we can receive from one another.
But I can love like Jesus!
And by His love, those will come to know Him.
And those who know Him love Him.
And those who love Him know who they are in Christ.
And that changes everything.
Have you ever thought about acceptance in this way? If not, has it changed anything for you?
Think about a time recently that you've felt rejected. After reading this devotional, how can you see what happened in a different light?
Thank You, Jesus, that You accept me. I thank You that my acceptance and self-worth and identity come from You and You alone. And I thank You that I'm made in Your image. Because I am a daughter of Christ. I am powerful and my faith moves mountains. And though I can't give acceptance, I just ask that You would equip me to love those around me in the way You designed me to. Because loving them will show them You, and then they'll get to experience You firsthand. I love You with all that I am. In Jesus’ name, amen.