When I graduated from sixth grade, all I could think about was would people like me in the seventh grade. When I graduated from eighth grade all I could think about was would people like me in the ninth grade.
It was a little pathetic I know…
But, hey, I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be part of the “cool group.” And it turns out that desire to be accepted never goes away.
Whether we’re graduating from elementary school, high school, college, or entering a new career, there is always a part of us that desires to be accepted by the next group of people. We can’t help but look for approval from the “cool group.”
The “cool group” isn’t always the people who wear the best clothes or who are the most popular. As you graduate in life, the cool group is often the group of people that has something you want. Whether it is knowledge, good-looks, money, power, or the appearance of success. It is the group you want to be around because you’re hoping that some aspect of their life will rub off on you. And in turn you will be “cool” too.
The reason any of us want to graduate into the “cool group” is because we want to be valued. We want someone with some status to give us his or her approval. We want this because we believe the approval of someone we look up to will somehow show the world we are worth something too.
We’re not wrong.
Getting the approval of someone with a higher social standing will add value and worth to our lives…but it won’t last. It will only last until we meet someone else with a higher “cool” factor. As soon as that happens, we’ll want that person’s approval…that is, until we meet someone “cooler.”
It can be a never ending search for approval. A never ending search to find our self-worth. If we’re not careful, we’ll spend our whole lives trying to “graduate” from one person’s approval to another.
Thankfully, Jesus sets us free from this never-ending desire to “graduate.”
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the King of kings, and the ruler of all of the universe. There is no one in the universe with a higher social status than him. He is at the very top. He is smarter, prettier, richer, more accomplished, and more powerful, than any other being in existence. There is no one “cooler” than him.
Yet, despite his untouchable social status, Jesus did something for you and me that was unthinkable–scandalous even.
He set aside his social status. He came down from heaven. And he pursued you and me.
We were in no state to be pursued. We were rebels, we were gross, and untouchable. We were evil and unlovable.
Yet Jesus came and invited us into his life, into his home, and into his holy family.
Of course, in the state we were in, we couldn’t actually enter into his family. Our evil desires, thoughts, and actions made us too unclean, too imperfect. We were too much of a mess to be a part of Jesus’ “cool group.”
So Jesus again did the unthinkable. He cleaned us. But not with soap and water. But with his blood.
On the cross, Jesus, the king of kings, sacrificed himself for you and me. He used his blood to wash us clean and make us holy. He paid our entrance fee into God’s family.
It was a gift.
A gift he gave to the undeserving, the unworthy, the poor, to all of us desiring to have some kind of social status. As a result, for all those who would believe in him he gave them the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
In this mind blowing act Jesus did something amazing for all of us who would receive him. He gave you and me status. He gave you and me his approval. He made us new creations.
Jesus broke the never ending need to “graduate.”
Today, we no longer have to look for acceptance from other people. We no longer have to try to “graduate” to the next level of “coolness”. We no longer have to work like crazy to climb up the approval ladder. Because Jesus, the One at the top, has come down to us—to accept us.
Of course, now, the only question is, will we accept him? Will we accept his approval? Will we give our lives to him, and stop looking for lesser approval from others?
If we will, we will be free from the never-ending desire to “graduate”.
For all the graduates this year, may you no longer worry if the next group of people you will meet will accept you. Jesus Christ offers you his approval. Give your life and future to him. Then rest in the knowledge that wherever you go, you are already accepted by the “coolest” person of all.