“With you I am well pleased”. These are the words God sings over Jesus after His baptism by John the Baptist. The message of these words is an affirmation that Jesus is in the Father’s favor, which is not just the goal of life, but also the fulfillment of everything we could desire. Keep in mind that we desire this even if we do not yet know that we desire it.
The following words are to be read with the understanding that as God’s children, we too can be affirmed by Him in such a way to be identified as living in His favor. To be affirmed by the Father in this manner is to be approved by the Master of the Universe and this has tremendous implications. There are probably more than we realize in fact, as the love of God is infinite so too are its effects, but we will look at 3 of them.
The first effect of knowing that you are approved by the Father is that you need the approval of others less and less. The second is that you begin to see success differently and your mistakes/failures are merely a part of your path to God, not hindrances to your mission. Finally, your motivation is transformed to make your life a movement of responding to the love of God instead of trying to earn love from God and others.
In the first result, God gives us the strength to step out in confidence more, worrying less about what others think of us and trusting that God is with us. Knowing we are in God’s favor strengthens our resolve to carry out His plan despite the influences and pressures from the world. It is knowing with certitude that God is for you and, despite having others against you, if you are trying — you are winning. Even if the whole world laughs at you, if you are in God’s favor, you need not worry or feel ashamed.
The second implication of living in God’s favor is that you see success differently. Your mistakes and failures are not hinderances, but instead are steeping stones along the journey of your life. You no longer despair in your weaknesses and defects, but are able to grow through them and celebrate them as ways to experience God’s goodness and power. Truly, you see your failures, mistakes, and weaknesses as jewels that God uses to decorate your life, not to destroy it.
Finally, experiencing God’s affirmation, having Him be “well pleased” with us, transforms our motivation. We no longer need to seek approval from others and then despair when we don’t receive it. We can trust that we are already loved and make all that we do a response to this.
Our actions become rooted in the value we discover in ourselves through our understanding that we are God’s children. This means that we already have all of the respect, admiration, and love that we could ever want. We do not need to earn this from God or others.
The absolute freedom that comes with these implications is incredible. Even if the whole world thinks you're stupid, and tells you so, you can rest in the Father’s love for you. You do not need the approval of others, you understand that your failures and mistakes in a good way that does not destroy you when they occur, and all of your actions are done out of love, not self-seeking insecurity.
These are the results of knowing that God is pleased with us, but how do we get to this point? Three words…The. Holy. Spirit. Seek out the Holy Spirit and cultivate a relationship with God and He will be pleased with you.
The words that the Father sings over Jesus after He is clothed in the Holy Spirit at His baptism, He sings over us when we too are clothed in the Holy Spirit.
We don’t have to do great things to be pleasing to God. We simply need to be close to Him and have a relationship with Him. And with God, trying is enough. Seeking is enough. Putting our hearts and lives in His hands is enough.
If this is you, if you’re trying but keep getting weighed down by your mistakes and failures or you continue to feel bad because you’re not perfect, know that God is well pleased with you. He simply wants us clothed in the Holy Spirit just like Jesus was at this baptism. Desire this, then fight for that desire, and you’ve already begun.