How God Sees You with Scott Sauls

Did you know there are over 861,000 self-help books available on Amazon? Scott Sauls shared that shocking number in a blog he wrote focused on how God sees us and His love for us- now, today, just as we are.

Many of us wrestle with not feeling good enough, as if we need huge repairs, or like we have to be better than we are right now. But that isn’t God’s heart for us nor how He sees us.
Do you ever find yourself questioning God’s love and acceptance? Scott Sauls is a pastor, author, speaker and thought leader and he shares more on the importance of knowing God’s love and understanding how God sees you.

Scott shares that before sin entered humanity, people lived an unencumbered perfect existence before the face of God as His perfect image bearers. That utopia is where we started and it’s also where we are headed. While brokenness is our current reality, this isn’t how things will end for Christ-followers. We were created for Eden, and we will return to “Eden”. In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” For Christians, says Sauls, “this is a new heaven and a new earth, a more complete and full Eden”.
We are “aliens and strangers” in this present existence, reminds Sauls. Part of what makes our current existence feel alien and strange is that we never seem to be able live up to the things God has put into our hearts that tell us what and who we are meant to be and how we are meant to be. We are always coming short of God’s ideals and our own. Every new year we get the cycle of starting resolutions only to give up on them a few months later. Humanity and the things of the world are subject to decay. As beings created with eternity in our hearts, we will always long for more until we reach heaven.

Our desire for more often gets twisted into a desire to be more, to accomplish more, and achieve more in our daily lives. The only peace we can find in the midst of that drive for performance is faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross for each of us. In the eyes of God, everything that is true about Jesus is now true about us. He stood in our place, He covers us, He clothes us in His righteousness. When God sees us, he sees the radiance and beaty of who Jesus is and He views us with loving eyes as one of His own children, just as He does with Jesus.
What gets in the way of our belief in how God sees us? It’s our pride. It’s a false human belief that says we have to contribute something in addition to what Christ has done in order to gain favor with God. We bring our efforts hoping to procure more approval and favor from God, but this leads us to greater pride if we think we are succeeding or it will lead us to depression and despair because no matter how hard we try, we never measure up.

But God doesn’t call us to earn favor or approval. He calls us to live as loved beings, with an awareness of how much He loves us that we are compelled to follow Him. God reminds us repeatedly that we are not unwanted, tolerated children. We are beloved and desired daughters and sons. Rather than see ourselves as orphans or needing to earn our keep, we are accepted, chosen, adopted, and dearly loved.

Sometimes single parents feel rejected or abandoned by those who we thought would love us for a lifetime. Those feelings can carry over into other relationships as well, including our relationship with God. When that is the case, how do we truly understand God loves us without believing we have to do anything to earn it?

Scott says we have to consider what is in our minds. God’s word says we are renewed by the transforming of our mind. We have to be careful what we fix our minds on. If we are spending ten times as many minutes on Netflix than on scripture, we should not be surprised that we are preoccupied with thoughts that contradict the truth. If we focus more attention on social media than we do on church or biblical teaching, we will be more impacted and influenced by the messages we see online. We will be formed and shaped by anger and anxiety, if we are primarily focused on voices that speak that. In the same way, we will be formed by the heart of God if we focus on the Psalms. We will be formed by Jesus and our identity in Him if we focus on the gospels and his life and work.

We become what we behold. We don’t have to do a shred of work for God to love us. But we do have to do a lot of work to be able to receive that truth and live from it. Salvation is by faith in Christ alone, but we participate and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in our sanctification – the reformation of our thoughts, our speech, and the way we live, including our emotional life. God has given us resources to help us fix our gaze on him like scripture, His family in community and the life of our local church. We can’t expect to walk in awareness of who we are in the eyes of God if you aren’t organizing your lives around those things.

We choose what we focus on and out of that comes our experience and knowledge. This requires an intentional choice and discipline of focus and thinking.

Many single parents feel inadequate and often our history has left us with some baggage and feelings of frailty. That brokenness can be a pathway to see how God actually sees us. Brokenness is evident throughout the people we see in the Bible too. Moses led a disgruntled people through the desert wilderness, David spent time hiding in caves, the apostle Paul was persecuted and thrown in prison. From these unlikely journeys, Sauls says our brokenness can be filled by the connection we find in being united with Christ and in our connection to His people.

God’s word is written to His people in community. When isolation is part of our suffering, we must take steps to no longer be alone. Marriage isn’t the only answer. The apostle Paul was single and had traveling companions wherever he went. Jesus had his twelve disciples and a community of followers. He always had people around him except for rare moments when he would go off alone and pray. It is incredibly important to find refuge in community with others. Single parents may have to work harder to find that and fit it into their lives, but the local body of believers is a profound way to know and experience God’s love.

This connection isn’t intended just for Sunday mornings. It is meant to be experienced regularly, as a way to gain strength and health as we meet together. The church is God’s gift of love to us. We can’t be a single parent alone and thrive. To thrive, we need community. Community is hard fought for those who are bearing the weight of parenting by themselves but it is essential. Community is one of the tangible ways we can start to know and experience God’s love for us.
Sometimes, maybe often, we compare ourselves to others and find ourselves lacking. Crisis like divorce, unplanned pregnancy, or personal failure can make us feel like we fall short. Instead of seeing ourselves through God’s eyes, we see through the lens of not measuring up. Roosevelt says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” One of the best antidotes is to find authentic relationships with other people who will walk with you in hardship, help you carry your burdens, and share some of theirs with you too. In community with real people, we start to recognize that the ground in front of the cross is level. Nobody is coming to Jesus already perfected or as if they have “arrived”. We all approach Him “naked and poor, wretched and blind”. From our place of need, He meets us there with His love – fully accepted, fully embraced, and fully forgiven.

We may think God sees us as worthy or unworthy based on what we do or don’t do, but nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t have to perform or strive to be acceptable in His sight. Because of His love, we are able to come to His throne of grace with confidence, knowing He will meet us there with mercy in our time of need. God isn’t asking us to be more than who we are, nor does He see us as less. On our worst day, we are still beloved by the one who gave His life for us. We never have to perform for His acceptance. He wants us to come to him with honest confession, as we are, and simply receive what He offers freely – adoption as sons and daughters, cherished and embraced, changed because of His work of redemption. We can live from that truth and ask Him to help us see ourselves like He does.

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