Thumbs up…an almost universal sign of approval. If you hang out much in the realm of social media, you are well acquainted with the power of the thumbs up icon. The more of these little guys you have on your posts and pages, the better it is for you.
People don’t bestow a thumbs up for just anything, and rightly so. It has to be something that moves them – something creative, something beautiful, something profound, something funny.
But have you ever stopped to consider what it might take to get a thumbs up from God? What does He like?
Some of us may see God as a harsh judge who never shows approval of anything, standing there with His arms crossed or His thumbs down no matter what.
But this is not the case.
There are plenty of examples in Scripture where our Heavenly Father gives enthusiastic approval, or a thumbs up, if you will. Here are just a few.
Jesus got a thumbs up. On more than one occasion during Jesus’ public ministry, the Father spoke up with a booming voice declaring to the world, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17; 17:1-8). In these moments it was clear to everyone nearby that Jesus was indeed God’s Son and it would be a good move to follow Him.
Faith always gets a thumbs up. God loves it when we trust Him and He grieves when we don’t. He wants us to believe in our hearts that He loves us like no one else and that His promises are good.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. -Hebrews 11:6
God-fearing leaders get a thumbs up. It is fascinating to study the kings of Israel in the Old Testament. They were a mixed bag of individuals that vividly illustrate the difference between good and bad leadership. Not many of them got a thumbs up from God, but a few did.
Like Asa, king of Judah, who got this huge compliment:
“He did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.“
Why the thumbs up? Because as a leader, Asa used his influence to help people turn to God again (II Chronicles 14:1-2).
Faithful servants get a thumbs up. Jesus once told a story about three servants who were entrusted with some resources. The two who were diligent and made the most of those resources for their Master would later hear these powerful words:
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Why the thumbs up? Because they were faithful.
To be clear, God relates to us on the basis of His grace – not our performance. A relationship with Him is a gift available to you and me because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross – not because of what we do (Romans 8:3-4).
Yet it must be said that the way we live our lives still matters. It pleases God when His grace inspires us to put our best foot forward in life.
A thumbs up from people is always encouraging, but a thumbs up from God…that’s the ultimate.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.