This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. —Isaiah 66:2
It is a powerful and wonderful thing to have God's esteem. The word esteem means to think highly of; it means respect or favorable opinion. Can anything be more fantastic than to have God esteem you—to think highly of you? This is possible not because of your profile, your importance, or performance, but because you want it more than anything else. Profile does not mean that God is pleased with you. There are people who are rich and famous, but they will never experience God's commendation or hear "well done." For these things mean little in heaven. All that is required is to want it—more than anything. That's all. This means that you—whoever you are—can have God's esteem.
What is required of you is not perfection, but seeking—making an effort to obtain—His praise and esteem. You don't have to be the prophet Daniel. Three times the Lord said to Daniel, "You are highly esteemed" (Dan. 9:23; 10:11, 19). Daniel was called highly esteemed not because he was a prophet, but because he loved God more than the approval of people (Dan. 6:10). It was his love for God's honor that put him where he was; he could be trusted with a high profile because it meant less to him than God's honor.
How much time and energy is required on our part? It all depends. If we want His esteem, then we are going to walk in any ray of light He gives to us along the way. We prove we want His esteem by the decisions we make. The honor of God is therefore at our fingertips. It is closer than our hands or our feet, closer than the air we breathe. It is centered in the mind, heart, and will. One could say, therefore, that to have the esteem of God is the easiest thing in the world to achieve because He is eager to show it. And yet to feel and hear His "well done" comes to those who show that it is really what they want by their words and deeds. The reward is pure joy.
Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).