The Love and Approval of God
By Richard Kinney
Read the teaching below and listen to the exercise by clicking here.
We are going to talk about the love and approval of God for each one of us. And about how most of us haven’t accessed this and have actually been mostly discouraged from this. Then we are going to do an exercise together to access his love and approval which is something we need very much. Once people find out that truly God loves and approves of them and is not their enemy, then they will really take off in doing the powerful kingdom works of Chirst.
From birth all of us are created with a need for love and approval. As children we are able to take in the love and approval of our parents and that is actually healthy and helpful but as you know on earth it is a rather imperfect go around. Some people get a little and some of us get a lot. I like to think of us as eating and being nourished by love and approval. As adults, however, we are no longer able to eat human love and approval. It doesn’t work for us. And because the devil knows that we need it in order to be strong and to represent God well, he has made most of us ashamed about our need for love and approval. So you have gone to different people, or your work, or some accomplishment or a physical trait to get love and approval and you have found it empty. And many times there is a scar tissue built up from our quest from what we are designed to have because we look in the wrong place. The devil has gone way out of his way to get you to actually have shame in this area. So many people do. I am not saying all of you do but it wouldn’t surprise me if some of you do. I want to give you a couple of examples of how human love and approval doesn’t work no matter on what massive scale you get it.
For instance, the Rolling Stones have been for 30 years performing before groups of 50 to 200,000 people. People stand up and cheer, dance, yell their name. And yet they have gone back to the hotel room to take heroin and to do anything to numb themselves out.
Tom Cruise would probably be recognized in Dubai. If he went to Dubai I am sure someone would come up and ask him for an autograph. He would probably be recognized by a billion people. And yet the guy is pretty insecure and shaky in his mind at least it seems that way to me. You can’t really take in or eat, as it were, human love and approval anymore. It can no longer nourish you the way your parents’ love and approval nourished you as a child.
Here are some symptoms that you are not getting the love and approval you need. It’s almost like a food or vitamin we need.
• We will feel empty.
• We will be in pain emotionally, possibly physically.
• We will because of our pain feel a need to draw attention to ourselves.
• We will be “needlessly busy”
• We will be fragile
I will give you several examples of what this list looks like in everyday life. If you walked into a church there is probably no way in the world you would bring up your big toe to the people around you. But if you broke your big toe on the way into church you would probably tell 10 people about the pain in your big toe. When we are pain we need to call attention to ourselves.
We will be busy. For instance, if you are a woman and you have several small children I know you have to be busy. But there are a couple different types of business, aren’t there? If you can’t rest, that business is a sign of your emptiness in not getting the love and approval that you need.
We will also be fragile. What do I mean about being fragile? I have been fragile at different times in my life. By fragile I mean we are easily offended. We can be happy, happy and someone can cut us off in tragic and we are raging and waving our fist. Or someone can say something mean to us and we are despondent and despairing and ready to check out of life. That is an example of being fragile.
I want to explain to you a little bit about ego. The word ego has a bad rap in the mind of Christianity and the mind of a lot of people but all ego is a healthy and necessary structure of the personality. It is like the bones that the personality hangs on. So in order to bear the weight of even a small part of God’s personality and the presence of God you need a strong healthy ego. Egotism is sick ego. So if we have egotism it is all about us. It’s all about self-focus. Many of the most egotistical people will tell me as a counselor that they are pond scum and don’t deserve to live and when am I going to fire them from our counseling experience. People really do say that. You don’t have to be in love with yourself to be an egotist. All you need is to be overly self-focused. The devil knows that we need love and approval and works against us in it. Sometimes we pretend we don’t need it, but we know that we miss it. Fortunately there are a lot of ways to receive to get us back in touch with this love and approval that we so desperately need. I am going to show you a way that works very well. I was just ministering to a friend who was having a very down day and this exercise came forward.
A lot of times in the course of things the Lord will show Nancy and I something I have never seen anyplace else. I wouldn’t be mad if I did. It’s not from our brain. We didn’t figure it out. And the fruit of this particular exercise I am going to show you has been so good that I say “Hey, God, you’re making me look sick. I have been counseling this person for a year and they done this exercise a few times and look how much better they are.” I don’t mind being shown up by God. It is really very interesting how well it works.
There are two perspectives that we always have the love and approval of God in. The first one is from the perspective is that He created us before we came out of our mother’s womb. He put in us things that please Him and things that He loves. The first thing would be Himself. There is a part of Him in us, the spirit man. And He loves and enjoys Himself. He approves of himself. Next there are gifts and callings. All of you are unique here. All of you have some special callings and abilities that God delights in and He always will. The Bible says He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In Him there is no change or shadow of turning. So His love for us is not a light switch. It does not hinge on our behavior. It is not the tail wagging the dog. It’s not like God’s got a little switch, “I approve of you, I love you. I don’t approve of you. I don’t love you. I approve of you, I love you, I approve of you, I don’t love you.” I am not saying He is not aware of our shortcomings and sins. I am just saying He is not overcome by them. If some of you are counselors you have heard some pretty gory things from people. Do you hate those people? If you do this for a living, basically the fact that the person has problems doesn’t offend you particularly. And you are moving on toward their healing. I am not saying you aren’t aware of them. But I find that what’s good about people if you bring that forward pushes out what’s bad about people. Where no amount of harping about how bad they are ever heals anything. So we deal with the bad in people but counseling needs to hold more tightly to what God did right in you, to what God put in you already that can’t actually be destroyed regardless of these experiences you have had. And we find this again and again. And I’ve had people who have been cocaine addicts, who have done all sorts of reprehensible sins, who have been really, really lost. And yet within a year or so you find this shining, strong individual who really, while though they aren’t perfect, are free of their presenting problems and living a life that is God-pleasing and useful to others.
Ask yourself, “If you were a perfect God, would you create crappy people? I was a caterer for twenty years and I like to cook. I am good at it. It’s fun for me. It is one of the ways I express love to my family and friends. If when I cook, things go wrong everyone stays out of the kitchen because there are pots and pans are flying around and dark words are spoken. I hate making crappy food. Well I’m not perfect, but God is. So the idea that he is going to make crappy, loser type people, is really not on the possibility list. So from the perspective of how He created you he loves and approves of you. You can access that today and I am going to show you how. I am not saying the way I’m going to show you is the only way, I am just saying it’s a way.
Another way to get that is the Father’s love which has been important in my life. Since I have had that, I have had a sense of his love on a daily basis. It doesn’t mean my character has been perfect or my behavior has been perfect. It just means I know and experience in a very tactile way that he loves and approves of me. Much like a parent. You wouldn’t think much of a parent who was like on again off again with their kid. I hate you, I like you. I approve of you. I don’t approve of you.” We aren’t saying you endorse everything they do, we are just saying there is a constancy to your love and vision of that child as being valuable, important, and necessary. Even though you are aware of their faults, you are also aware of their positives–even when they are being rotten. Have any of you ever had the experience of looking in on your little kids’ head sticking out of the covers when they have been rotten all day, and you say, “Look at them! I just love them.”
There is another perspective I want to tell you about. God lives in eternity he doesn’t live in time. I want to give you a little teaching on that. I want you to imagine a little block on the floor. Most of here on earth believe that time and gravity are constants and we can depend on them unfailingly to be with us. Einstein said that time and gravity are the same thing. So if we fly to India we know we will be in a different time zone but there is still time and we don’t expect the pen to fly out of our pocket. On the other hand if you go up in the Challenger rocket, I don’t really know how many miles, but it’s not too many miles. Until your pen starts floating around. And you start floating around. And guess what? While in heaven there is no time, you can’t have time and eternity simultaneously because the nature of eternity is no time. So God sees you 10,000 years and more into the future as well as in the here and now. (I am addressing this to saved Christians. I am not going to try to take a bigger bite than that.) Have you ever gone to a conference or a prayer time coming home with your face shining and your heart all cleaned up feeling lighter and stronger? While I acknowledge there is no time in heaven, for our sakes let me use this as an example.
How do you think you will feel after you have been in heaven for 10,000 years? Do you think you might clean up a bit better? Do you think you will look better and act better? From that perspective God sees you. Let’s do a little exercise. Pretend there is a block on the floor a little kid ABC block. And you are a little ant. This is how many of us perceive time. We start our life on the edge of the block and we walk forward midlife is in the middle of the block and at the end of the block you fall off the block bye bye and you are dead. God we are going to perceive as a great big dome over the block. But actually he is a never ending dome and He perceives you as he created you in the beginning, and from this perspective, he approves of you. He sees you as you are in the moment and it’s not that he isn’t aware of your faults but he also sees you 10,000 years and more into the future. And from that perspective he also loves and approves of you. Heaven is not an endless church picnic. Thank you very much. If it were so, I would plead for death or at least unconsciouness. Where you just blanked out and the television is turned off with the wavy lines as opposed to an endless church social. Fortunately there is responsibility and growth and joy and proximity to the throne. The Bible says, if there were not many mansions in my house I would have told you. It doesn’t mean you are like Donald Trump trying to get the most apartment complexes. It means that there are different possibilities and responsibilities and joys that unfold in heaven forever and ever. I am an easily bored individual. I like new everything. So for me that is really exciting. While I am very chipper about being alive, I am going to be really thrilled about being in heaven.
So he sees you and approves of you from these two perspectives at the same time. In our exercise tonight will allow you to break down some of the scar tissue and walls that you have put up and that Satan has conned you into. Shame is a very powerful and driving force. If some of you do this counseling work you will learn that you don’t shame people if you can possibly avoid it… You get really safe with people before you touch an area of toxic shame. Because they will come after you right off the bat. We are going to tear down these walls of shame and wounding. There are two kinds of humility. One is where we downplay our successes and display God’s successes. There is another kind of humility that is much harder, where we admit we are poor and blind and miserable and naked and really need to let him come and help us.
It reminds me of the children of Israel going through the Red Sea and the Red Sea piled up on either side and walls quivering ready to crash down. That’s the love and approval of God from those two perspectives and we are going to take down the walls that we have put up and some of it will come in upon us.
Ready to do it? I always judge a tree by its fruit. I can put up with weird or different if the fruit is good.
I want you to ask God to show you from those two perspectives how he sees you as he looks upon you from those two perspectives: from his timeless view and from how he felt about you when he created you. And then I want you to ask him to let you feel how he feels about you. Now For some people this is more difficult than for others. Because we have scar tissue around our feelings. So we have protected ourselves for so long that sometimes it’s hard to feel a positive experience. Do you know any people who can’t receive a compliment or who start wiggling if you are kind to them. If you get both pictures and feelings that’s even better. You might get a picture or a feeling, or both together at once. We are going to arbitrarily call your first picture and feeling 20 percent of the total of God’s love and approval that you can receive at this moment. So as you get those I want you to raise your hand then we are going to ask what God showed you and what your feelings were. We are going to save questions and deep comments for later. I did this with a convict a month ago and he started to tell us in great detail his various crimes and disgraces and general mayhem for the past four years. We are really not looking for that. Since he was very big and very violent I let him talk for a quite a while. It was funny. “That is not exactly what we are looking for!”
This is modeled after the Randy Clark healing model which, by the way, works really well. Which is if someone has a migraine headache you put your hand on their head and pray for then and if they feel a little better but not totally healed better then you ask what percent you feel healed. They say 20 % Can you believe God for 10 percent more? Yes, I can ask God for 10 percent more. That is not such a big bite. A lot of people can’t believe God for 100 healing but if you say can you believe god for 10 more. So say God can I have 30 percent. And you keep asking for more.
If you get to 80 % then almost in every case they are healed. That works a lot better than the way I used to do it by yelling in a loud voice, “HEAL.” Which mostly just scares them and makes them blink. So I got 20 healings in 20 years and 300 healings in 5 years so guess which way works better.
At the end I will tell you a couple of stories from other people’s experiences.
Everyone ask God now, “God, show me a picture of how you see me from the two perspectives we just talked about and let me feel how you feel about me from those two perspectives. And when you get something raise your hand and then we are going to share it. Pray, “Please, God show me how you see me from these two perspectives and let me feel how you feel about me.”
I would like to give you some examples of what people have seen and experienced doing this exercise. Many people see God as a loving father holding them or playing with them or enjoying them. They will feel Him pick them up and have a warm sense of his approval of their being simply alive. One person saw herself being held on the Father’s chest and not only did the picture stay with her for weeks but also she had a strong feeling of love and peace every time she thought about the experience. She had never before seen a picture or a vision or experienced anything like this before.
The idea is to go deeper, and you can continue like a scuba diver who keeps going deeper into this ocean, into the genre of his love and approval. So there is a deeper revelation of the same thing. You can do this on your own for a few minutes, for 15 minutes or even ½ hour. I have seen a lot of people’s lives changed for the better by doing this simple exercise. This process was given by revelation. The best things we do to help people are given by revelation. God is touching his people.
The first you experience we will consider 20%. Now ask God to give you 30%. Savor the feelings from your first experience, really take them in and then let him take you deeper.
Don’t neglect the feelings. There are two different dimensions here. The first is what you see or picture. People who are the most scarred and hurt have the hardest time with the feelings. Don’t let yourself off the hook on the feelings. If you are really hungry it won’t fill you to get a Bon Appetit magazine and just look at the pictures.
So remember that one type of humility is to admit that God loves you and that you need it. That makes some of us as wiggly as can be. Some of us like to be a tough guy. Try being little before the Lord, let yourself be adored by Him. This is a different type of humility. Letting go of your vision of yourself as scabby and allowing yourself to see yourself through his eyes of love and approval takes a different kind of humility.
Here are some other things that people have seen and experience doing this exercise:
1. Someone saw God delighting in every one of their features and felt a sense of acceptance and warmth.
2. God showed someone else a picture of them as being like the everglades: interesting, mysterious, both above and below the water, full of excitement and beauty both wild and dangerous. She was someone who had suffered from low self-esteem and doing this caused her to feel better about herself. It was a deep message of God’s love and approval of the whole person—even the less “accommodating” parts.
3. A man saw himself in a room wrapped up in a blanket. Outside it was chaotic and unsafe. But in the room the Lord was there and smile at him. He felt a deep safety.
4. A young man with low self-esteem at first saw himself as a knight in shining silver armor. That was his 20%. When he asked for 30%, he got real quiet and he said to me, “Richard, I think I went from 20% right to 40%.” He looked almost overwhelmed. I asked him what he saw. He said, “I see Jesus hanging on the cross and Jesus is staring me in the eyes and saying, ‘I approved of you when I was hanging on the cross’.”
Remember, once you find out that truly God loves and approves of them and is not their enemy, then they will really take off in doing the powerful kingdom works of Christ.