Approved Unto God
As a Wheaton College student in the late 1940s, Jim Elliot wanted to earn two degrees. One the school would bestow. The second his God would bestow. The latter was the A.U.G. Degree (Approved Unto God).
Jim Elliot lived a short, full life which was his desire. He saw the life of Jesus, his Savior, as being short but full. Jim is best known as a missionary to the Auca Indians of Eucador. You may be familiar with his name and work. He was martyred by the people he was seeking to disciple. His death took place at a young age. He left a wife, Elisabeth, and young child, Valerie behind. But, there is no doubt, Jim Elliot earned the A.U.G. Degree. He was approved unto God.
What does it mean to be approved unto God? Is this a degree for which we should each one aim toward?
As we look into God’s word, let us expand this “Approved Unto God” thought by looking at one verse of scripture. We are instructed to be “approved unto God” in 2 Timothy 2:15. It says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.” There are several aspects of this verse we can examine. In doing so, we will better understand the requirements of the A.U.G. Degree.
First, we find the word “study”. This means to eagerly and diligently exert oneself to accomplish all God assigns through faith. In other words, hastily seeking out, searching, and coming under the instruction of God.
Second, we find the word “workman”. This is someone who works or labors. When we think of this in context of being approved unto God, we must strive for the work or labor we do to be for God’s purpose. We should listen to God’s commands and instructions in scripture and work to do them. Thereby, we will be a workman approved unto God.
Finally, in this verse we see the words “rightly dividing the word of Truth”. You are approved unto God by taking firm grasp upon God’s word, dissecting it in accurate measures, and cutting it at lines designated by God.
The Degree of being “Approved Unto God” is for everyone. It is something each and every believer can strive to accomplish. Just as college degrees have course requirements, God’s A.U.G. Degree has requirements. We must be earnest and diligent in our effort to look to God for instruction and guidance. Next, we must labor and work to search out God’s word, listening to and obeying His every command and instruction. Lastly, we must firmly grasp God’s word and understand it in the way He intended.
Are you working toward your A.U.G. Degree? If you are, keep striving and laboring. If you are not, begin TODAY. Nothing of this world lasts – not even our nearest and dearest relationships. But God’s word will never pass away.
May we all take steps today to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.” Strive toward your Approved Unto God Degree!
“Every one in the church whom God approves, will be devoted to his Master’s service, and thus fitted for his use.” ~Matthew Henry
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” ~Jim Elliot