“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given” (John 1:14 and 16).

 REFLECT

At my previous church in Oklahoma, the worship pastor gave my family their inflatable bounce house, which has been fun for my two kids over the years.

It’s cool to see how fast it blows up when you turn on the air blower, but it’s even crazier to see how fast it deflates once you turn it off.

Sometimes that’s how my relationship with God feels.  

The moment I think things are good with us and detach from Him—investing in other tasks and priorities—my life deflates like an inflatable bounce house.

When I untether from God, I’m deflated and empty, unable to pour into others.

I lose a sense of personal vision, purpose and courage and lack grace, joy and love for others.  

It’s like a TV show I recently saw where a guy got a concussion and forgot who he was. He had to look to everyone else to tell him who he was and what he liked or disliked. His identity was lost.

That’s a dangerous place to be and one Jesus never experienced.

In John 1:14 and 16 we see that because Jesus is “full” of the Father’s acceptance and security as the Son of God, He can give grace, truth and love to the people He’s in relationship with and we are recipients of that.

However, sometimes we look to other people to fill us up instead of Jesus.

When I’m empty, I sometimes try to earn people’s acceptance through my performance or entertain others by my wit or humor so that they approve of me.

It works out great if they sign off on me, but it’s devastating if they don’t.

Or I try to serve others or volunteer to feel good about myself, rather than others receiving the fruit of the Holy Spirit within me.

There’s a difference between wanting to be liked and encouraged by close friends or family and needing to be liked by everyone.

When we don’t realize we’re completely and unconditionally loved by the Father as His son or daughter, then we’ll certainly look to others to fill the gaps and are enslaved to their opinions.

It’s like you’re as fragile as a balloon—giving others the ability to either inflate or deflate you based on your abilities—which puts you on a roller coaster ride between low and high self-esteem.

Tim Keller writes, “The thing we would remember from meeting a truly Gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of Gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less. Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself … True Gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self-forgetfulness.”

 REACT

>Are you fulfilled in your relationship with God? Or are you craving people’s approval?

>Do you tend to think more of yourself or less of yourself? Why?