You and I are different in many ways. And thank goodness — the world doesn’t need another me. But did you know that there’s at least three things that both you and I crave?
The Three Things We All Crave
There’s more than three, but when we get down to the nitty-gritty of the deep desires of our hearts, the human souls craves these three things:
1) We all crave applause. We want to be affirmed, to be noticed, to be celebrated. We want people to see us and clap. We want to hear, “Good job — that was awesome.” If people applaud, we’re something. If we try our best and no one claps, we feel like we failed. The applause of others is something we desperately crave.
2) We all crave approval. Do you like feeling like an outsider? I don’t. You and I want to feel approved, to feel appreciated. We want to fit in. We desire the formal sanction of others, the approbation of man. If others approve us, then our insecurities will vanish, we think.
3) We all crave attractiveness. I worked at a retail supplement store for over two years. I talked to hundreds of people who spent thousands of dollars in hopes of transforming their body image. Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with trying to look good or exercising or spending extra money on healthy food. The problem becomes when we make our appearance an idol, when we put it before God in our lives. But this tension is hard. Who wants to be called ugly?
I found myself (sometimes) in the same camp of my customers. I did diets I didn’t like, spent money I didn’t have, to impress people I didn’t know. It’s not so much an issue now, but I’m well aware of the temptation.
Are these three things — applause, approval, and attractiveness — something you crave, something you desire?
Well, I got good news for for you: If you’re a Christian, you already have all three.
You Already Have What You Want
Here’s how the gospel announces you have all three:
1) The applause you already have. The righteousness of Jesus has been accredited to all of God’s people. As a result, the angels in heaven applaud when just one sinner repents (Luke 15:10), and God sings over all of his elect — no matter the sins they commit (Zephaniah 3:17). The applause that you crave, in Christ, you already have.
2) The approval you already have. After Jesus’ baptism, he hears, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). If you’re in Christ, God says the same thing over you, no matter what you do. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The approval that you crave, in Christ, you already have.
3) The attractiveness you already have. All of our genetics are from God, and therefore we look exactly how God wants us to. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14).
Isaiah says that Jesus had “no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). It is true that our sin is ugly, but Jesus gladly died and rose on our behalf, and God’s anger is appeased. No more ugly sin, only beautiful righteousness. The attractiveness that you crave, in Christ, you already have.
The Search is Over
I’m not usually late. But I remember a time I was in route to meet a friend for dinner. The reason I was late was because I couldn’t find my car keys. I searched everywhere, and to no avail. Fifteen minutes into my search, I threw my hands in the air out of frustration (and probably desperation). As gravity brought my hands down, though, I felt something jingling in my pocket. I finally found my keys.
What I was looking for, I already had.
It’s the same with applause, approval, and attractiveness. You don’t need to look for them because you already have them. In fact, Pauls says that every spiritual blessing that you desire, you already have because you’re in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). There’s reasons for remembrance, but never a cause for searching. The search was finished when He found you.
Will you celebrate these gospel truths today?