We don’t serve God to gain His acceptance; we are accepted,
so we serve God. We don’t follow Him to be loved;
we are loved so we follow Him.
- Neil T. Anderson
My two youngest daughters love to play dress up. Whether as a princess, doctor, or even their mother, they love pretending to be someone they’re not. In the midst of play, they will inevitably rush over to my wife and I, delighted to show us what they look like. In doing so, they’re hoping we’ll respond with enthusiasm, communicating our affirmation and approval.
In Genesis 27 Jacob does a similar thing. Throughout his life, he’s lived in the shadow of his older brother Esau (Gen. 25:28). Who, ironically, is only seconds older than Jacob. But since Esau was the firstborn (see Gen. 25:19ff), he is the favored son. No doubt, Jacob longs to hear words of love and blessing from his father. As Isaac gets along in years, through the convincing of his mother, Jacob dresses up like his brother Esau in order to receive those words.
The desire to be loved is legitimate and real. We’re created to receive love from a source outside of ourselves. And if those desires go unmet, even if we already have loving relationships, we can find ourselves compromising our integrity to receive more.
However, when we receive love and blessing by pretending to be something we’re not, the love we receive is shallow and dissatisfying. We’re not being accepted as our true selves. Jacob probably felt that way when receiving the blessing from his father while dressed up like his brother. He likely knew those words were meant for his brother, not him. Only when we believe that God’s approval is complete in our lives because of Jesus, will we have the freedom and courage to be who we really are regardless of what other people think of us.
Today, know that you are fully loved and accepted by God just the way you are.
1. In what ways are you tempted to pretend to be something or someone you’re not?
2. How has pretending to be something you're not left you dissatisfied?
3. Do you have a relationship where you feel you’ve been overlooked? Spend time submitting that relationship to the Lord, asking Him to share words of affirmation with you.