I would encourage you to read part 1 (if you haven’t already); if you have already read part 1, then enjoy!
Do you ever worry about what other people think of you? Do you have anxiety about whether people will accept you? If so, you are not the only one. There is a tendency in many people, myself included, to strive for other people’s acceptance. Striving for acceptance is a natural tendency, but the unfortunate result of this striving is that we will either conform to the desires of others in order that we will be accepted which will lead to anxiety and despair. Alternatively, we will be unable to conform to their standards and therefore be rejected, which will also lead to despair and anxiety. Often times, even when we experience the detrimental results of this striving for acceptance, we will go right back to our quest of seeking for people’s acceptance. In order that we stop this futile cycle of striving for people’s acceptance, we must either stop striving altogether or find out where true acceptance is found. We cannot continue to live in this despair and anxiety caused because of what other people think of us or whether they accept us. The thought of turning to God for acceptance might seem counter-intuitive to some. The reason being, if we are unable to conform ourselves to the standards of others in order to be accepted, how are we then supposed to be able to conform ourselves to the standers of God, which are much higher? This line of reasoning is not completely absurd, but there is an inaccuracy with it in regards to the means by which we are accepted. If we are accepted by God based on our ability to live up to God’s standards we would fall drastically short every time. Thankfully, we are not accepted based on our ability to meet God’s standard, but upon Jesus death on the cross. The first question I asked you was, do you worry about what other people think of you? Most likely you answered yes to that question. You like most people, have a tendency to put enormous weight on what other people think of you, which can be detrimental to your walk with the Lord. Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean: Have you ever found it difficult to share your faith because of the possibility of not being thought well of and the anxiety that comes with that? Maybe you have even watered down the Gospel in order that it does not offend someone. One of the detrimental effects of trying to be both thought well of and present the unadulterated Gospel is that it can produce so much anxiety within us that we neglect to fulfill the great commission entirely. The solution to that seemingly impossible task is to understand that how people see us is not nearly as important as how God sees us. We are told in God’s word that Jesus became sin, that we would become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). If this is how God sees us, are we then to put more weight on the opinion of man rather than the opinion of God, the creator of the universe. I’m not saying to disregard man’s opinions of you as a whole, but suggesting that your identity does not come from that, and when you believe it does, despair and anxiety will set in. God accepts us, not based upon what we’ve done, but because of the work of his Son, we can be accepted. We are not defined by how others see us, but we are defined by how our Father in heaven sees us (1 Peter 2:9). If we truly apply and believe these truths, then it ought to transform our feelings of anxiety and despair into those of belonging and thanksgiving.