Acceptance is more than being admitted into a clique or a club.
Acceptance is being specially chosen in love without pretense and having grace, honor, and abundant favor bestowed upon you by the One who chose you.
It is no coincidence that Paul chose to use the same Greek word “charitoo” to tell believers that we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), as the angel Gabriel used when he called Mary “highly favored” in Luke’s account of their exchange:
And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ (Luke 1:26–28).
The word “charitoo” means to have grace, to be clothed with special honor, to make accepted and to be highly favored. When Paul said we are “accepted in the Beloved,” he was saying that in Christ we have been granted the same favor God showed Mary when He chose her in love to bring forth the Messiah.
Mary was no different than any other young Jewish woman.
She said of herself, The Lord has looked upon the lowly. (Luke 1:48)
The Lord chose Mary not because she was better than anyone else, but out of the counsel and delight of His own will. That is the same reason He chose Ruth and the same reason He chose you and me.
Faith is God’s only requirement to receive His acceptance and every blessing that comes along with it (Hebrews 11:6). Mary responded in faith to God’s favor.
Luke 1:45 says, Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.
I’m sure there were people who never accepted Mary or believed her story. I’m sure there were those who chose to believe that our Savior was the product of an ill-begotten pregnancy.
I don’t think it mattered to Mary what other people thought of her. It did not matter if they accepted her or not, or believed her story or not. Mary believed what the Lord had spoken to her, and she was able to rest in His grace and favor and experience His plan for her life come to pass.
Ruth was a Moabitess woman in the midst of the children of Israel.
I can imagine that not everyone accepted her right away. However, she did not allow other people’s opinions of her to keep her from living in God’s acceptance. Besides God, Naomi and Boaz’s acceptance of her was all that really mattered.
Even though you are accepted by God, there will be people who try to make you feel like you don’t belong where He called you.
People may look down upon you because of your past, their assumptions about you, or simply because you are different from them. But if God is for you and He accepts you, His favor and grace will lead you into the place and the inheritance He has for you.
Sadly, too often we value the acceptance of people above the acceptance of God.
We stay in relationships and situations that are not right for us in search of acceptance. We go into new relationships and opportunities without seeking God in prayer to direct us into His favor, in search of acceptance. But God wants us to seek acceptance in Him and learn to accept ourselves so we won’t settle for the wrong kind of acceptance and forfeit our inheritance in Him.
When Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, Ruth asked Naomi,
Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor. (Ruth 2:2)
Ruth could have tried to glean from any field, but by wisdom, she chose to go in the way of God’s favor. Beloved, when you choose to receive the gift of God’s acceptance, He will set people along your path who will accept you, favor you, and help you step into your destiny.