God’s acceptance is unconditional. Like the love of a good parent. But, also like a good parent, his approval is something we can gain or lose based on how we act and believe. Good parenting never rejects. Never stops loving. But also does not approve that which is destructive to us.
We sometimes make the mistake of thinking we must gain God’s approval in order to be accepted by Him. But that would mean Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough. Our acceptance in His sight does not depend one bit upon what we do. The actions we take do not affect our familial relationship with God.
But our God, who loves and accepts us unconditionally, is also a parent that disciplines perfectly. God will always be perfect in pursuing our best interest. Accordingly, God will never approve behavior that is self-destructive. He will only approve that which brings true goodness.
We are prone to choose things that are bad for us. We don’t do what is commendable, then commend ourselves. When we do this, we are deceived. Self-approval is not satisfying. God’s approval is that for which our hearts truly long.
The treasure of Heaven is God’s approval. When we gain that, we gain our heart’s desire. Material wealth is just a pale substitute for the true wealth that comes from faithful obedience. He does not give us a yacht to show us His approval. He gives us his approval as our greatest reward. It is not a means to something else. It is the currency itself. Our true treasure.
“For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
– 2 Corinthians 10:18