Question:

We should seek the approval of God and not man. I absolutely agree with this. My question, however, is how do we know if we have God's approval?

Since I became a Christian, I have developed a fear of dying. I fear I'm going to Hades and then hell because I feel I'm not doing enough as a Christian to spread the word. When I sin, I almost always ask for forgiveness. What must I do to go to heaven? I read the Bible, I try as best as I can to follow God's word and follow in Christ's footsteps, I have a proper mindset when taking the Lord's Supper, I pray and give thanks for all that God has given me. I thank Christ every day for dying on the cross for all of our sins; yet, I feel I should be doing more.


Answer:

The best answer to your question is the book of I John. Read through it and take note of how often John uses the word "know."

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6).

God has never left us in the dark in regards to knowing were we stand with Him. His word lays it out for us. Yet, it is possible to be our own worse enemy, setting up criteria for ourselves beyond what God asks of us. Paul warns that we have to take a reasonable view of ourselves. "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). Paul had it mind those who thought they were more important than others, but the same principle applies to those who think they aren't important. "For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another" (Romans 12:4-5). Every person is important to God. It is He who is not willing that any perish (II Peter 3:9), and that includes you.

But what happens is that new Christians look at the experienced Christian. They see all the work they do and they either wear themselves out trying to duplicate their level of effort or they decide it is too hard to do. Neither is the right approach. Each person has to find their place and grow into doing the things they good at. "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness" (Romans 12:6-8).

Everyone is important in a church, the young, the old, those who reach out and those who support from within.

"For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually" (I Corinthians 12:14-27).

We do all we can with the opportunities given. The measure is not the success we have, but the effort we give to the tasks at hand.

"But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25).