A Prayer for the One Seeking Acceptance
By Alicia Searl
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:26-28
We all have a deep need to belong and fit in. We have an inner desire to feel accepted, flaws and all. But what does it really mean to “be accepted?” The word accepted, by definition, means to be highly favored, to be given approval, or to show recognition of being correct. Here within lies a slippery slope. When we seek acceptance, we merely seek approval for “our view,” not God’s. Let me clarify. What is acceptable if I think something is okay or even good, but you think it is not okay or even terrible? In this case, acceptance becomes a personal tool to cast judgments and labels.
This played out in the Old Testament when the Israelites were held in captivity in Babylon. This resulted from their disobedience, turning away from God while hardening their hearts. They had become selfish and stricken by the ways of their flesh, worshiping false gods, living out sinful lifestyles, and priding themselves on accepting their own truths. This sounds a little similar to the current climate of our society today. While we all crave acceptance, it often derives from our own sinful nature and view of acceptance. But our God, full of compassion, showed His mercy and grace upon the people of Israel by targeting their hearts. He softens their hearts by leading them back to the truth of His acceptance. God’s acceptance is covered in His unfailing love. And friend, our God can do the same for us!
The truth is when we put faith in Jesus, our stone-cold heart that seeks after our own desires and acceptance is redesigned by our good and gracious Father. God softens our hearts, promising never to cast us out of His family. While we will still bend to the ways of our flesh, with God, we can be fully known, fully accepted, and deeply loved. However, as His children, that doesn’t mean He accepts our sins. He loves us too much to be confined by those unbearable chains. In our transformation from our old self to our new self, God plants within us a heart that desires to seek His will and His way. As our Creator, He is continually pursuing our hearts and chiseling away at our rough edges to make us more in the image of Christ. So, rather than seeking acceptance from others, which will bend towards our sinful nature, we need to seek God’s acceptance through His unconditional love, which will cover a magnitude of sin.
We are so thankful and abundantly blessed to be called Your beloved children. Please help us seek Your acceptance and walk in a way that honors You, Lord. Thank You for Your faithfulness and compassion for Your chosen people of Israel. It can give us the reassurance we need to know that even when we may fail and fall into sinful patterns, Your mercy is greater, and You still pursue our hearts, calling us back to Your acceptance.
This world currently seems to be giving way to seeking their own personal form of acceptance, so with humble hearts, we ask that You please shed light in the darkness. Reveal that Your acceptance is filled with goodness, mercy, grace, and unconditional love. We lift our hurting nation to You, O God. We are in a very similar place to the people of Israel. We need to change course and need You to awaken people by softening hearts. Recreate a love for Your Word and Truth. Place bold convictions within the walls of our congregations and lead us back to the path of righteousness. O Lord, we want to desire Your acceptance and seek Your will and way for our lives. It is in Your Holy and Precious name I pray. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Andrew_Mayovskyy
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
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Originally published Wednesday, 24 May 2023.