Addicted to Affirmation
John 13:34,35 Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Most of us are familiar with the defect of finding our value in what others think of us. We prefer to believe the world finds us clever, funny, attractive, successful, competent and popular. A kind word can make our day and a harsh one can wreck it. We check our phones a hundred times a day to find affirmation from social media. Despite knowing this is not where our true value lies, we place an inordinate amount of weight in the opinion of others.
Some of us have grown tired of living under the rule of popular opinion. We then move to the other extreme. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. I’m going to do whatever I want and the world can hang…
Jesus, in today’s passage, said there is an appropriate place for concern with the opinion of the world. We are not to find our value in the world’s opinion but neither are we to write the world off. Rather, He said that we should live in such a way that the world sees his love in us. As Jesus is known for his love, we are to love others with such intensity that the world identifies us by this love. Our lives are not to point to self. Our lives are to point to God and his love.
I am to find my value then, not in the world’s opinion of me, but rather in God’s love. My ultimate worth and meaning is to be fulfilled in God’s view of me. His love is to flow through me into the lives of those around me. This love is to define me and is to be what the world knows of me.
What does the world now know of us as Christians? When they think of us, do they think of God and his love or, do they know us by our defects? Do they know us as contentious, arrogant, condescending and judgmental? Are our lives marked by love or our we known for our addictions, pride, lust, anger and self-obsession?
I heard a man say once that the Church’s primary job was to carry the truth. Truth and right doctrine are of course, important, but the world is to first see God’s love in us. If the world sees us as angry, judgmental, and condescending, they will not be attracted to our God. In putting truth above love, we give in to our own pride and need to be right. It is only when we allow God’s love to flow in and through us that others will care about that which we believe.
I need to ask myself where I find my value. I am to find my value not in the opinion of the world, but rather in the love of God. He loves me and wants me to reflect his love to the world. This is where I am to find my affirmation and identity.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.