How to Know That You Know, That You Know, that God is Pleased With You

Two or three days before I traveled to Kansas City to attend the IHOP-KC young adults’ conference, back in ’00/’01, I sat on the couch of the Lion Room at the Olive Street house in Evansville, Indiana. The Lion Room was thus dubbed because of the large lion picture hanging on the wall, the lion-colored couch, and the other lion-themed items spread around the room, here and there.

The young ladies I lived with then, were so in love with Jesus, and as you know, if you’ve read the Bible or The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the lion is symbolic of that Great Man. So they ogled over lions for that reason. And lions are just so beautiful anyway, so I’m suspecting they may also have had a lion crush. Anyhow, I was sitting there on that couch and surrounded by the Lion of the tribe of Judah I suppose, and reading Romans.

At that particular moment, I read Romans 2:28-29, and it was as if a sword pierced my soul. The verses are below:

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

It was the last sentence that got to me, and that I prayed into my soul. I understood from that sentence that I would be alive in Christ and have God’s praise and approval, when I no longer had the urge to habitually and subconsciously seek my praise, approval and worth from pastors, leaders, or other people whom I deemed as important.

Back then, I had this unconscious tendency to seek after the praise and approval of human beings. I was going through the gradual transition from receiving from God primarily through the wisdom and guidance of older and wiser believers, to becoming wiser and older, myself, and receiving directly and primarily from God on my own. But, I didn’t see it like that back then. I just knew that I wanted to stop being so self-conscious and subconsciously thinking about a human audience. I wanted and needed to know God for myself, and that I was good enough. Which is quite normal, really. There’s really actually nothing wrong with that. But, then there is.

It becomes problematic and wrong when you can’t move forward or perform to your fullest potential because you are constantly self-conscious and feeling like you will never be good enough. Because, it’s true, you will never be good enough for human beings. Humans are not God, and will constantly need to be filled. They will drain you and the whole world, and even you will constantly need to be filled, and are limited, and will drain the world.

But, God is not. God is not limited. And that’s why we can be good enough to God. God doesn’t even need us. God doesn’t need us to fill him, and in fact, is the endless, eternal source of life who will fill us – who fills us.

When we are in Christ and Christ is in us – simply because he loves us and loves to fill us if we ask him and invite him in – then we are pleasing to God. We are pleasing to God because Christ living in us can never be depleted if we continue to ask him to fill us. If we continue to cling to Christ and he remains in us, then we have a deposit of eternity living in us, and that’s what makes us pleasing and enough to God. And it is out of his pleasure with us and out of his generous pouring into our lives, that we can then pour out into other people’s lives to his glory.

Back then, when I was 20/21 years old, I didn’t know all of the above. Again, I just knew that I wanted this unpleasant, unconscious, seeking-to-please-a-human-audience to stop. And it did. After the young adult’s conference – after I had fasted and relentlessly sought after God and was poured into in a huge way, and after the roses (which is a story I’ll save for another time), the spiritual dam broke, and the reality of God and his creator-fatherly love poured into my whole being. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah whispered his roaring word into my soul and broke the cedars of my humanistic tendencies.

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