We all like to be liked – especially in the day of social media! I was challenged regarding this a few days ago during a frank talk with my heavenly Father.
But I suspect I may not be the only one for whom the need of affirmation is an issue. In an article I read recently one man referred to himself as a “Recovering Affirmation Addict”. And I have known Christian leaders who have gone so far as to complain publicly when, in their opinion, not enough people had visited their blog or commented on their articles.
None of this is to take away from the need for encouragement or affirming one another – indeed I still believe it is of great importance that we do – and in particular that we express an attitude of thankfulness to and for one another.
But the need for affirmation can be like a drug – something we become dependant upon to measure our usefulness, value and worth. Then it is dangerous.
During the preaching of Jesus there were not many in the religious community who rushed forward to shake his hand and thank him for his ministry – not many “likes” on his Facebook page from the religious establishment – although his true “followers” always clicked “Like” – so most of the time he had at least 12 – but sometimes not even that!
Which brings us to the point – did Jesus need affirmation and if so from where? I have no doubt that he was appreciated by his disciples and others, and that from time to time they said so – but he did not in any sense depend on that for his sense of affirmation. That came from one source only – his Father.
“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.””
I think is it quite clear that the only affirmation that mattered to Jesus was that of the Father. Which is why in everything he sought only to please him. The “likes” of others were ultimately of no consequence. And I have no doubt the same should be true of us.
I think it is important for us to note, although perhaps it goes without saying, that the Father did not say this is my beloved Prophet, Priest, King, Minister, Teacher, Evangelist or Preacher – but “My beloved Son”.
In the whole aspect of affirmation I think the issue of identity is key. What is my identity – what is yours? I know many people whose identity is primarily their job, their ministry, their position, their title, their wealth – or a hundred other things. Sadly in the final analysis all these will fail us – but our relationship to God – as a son or daughter is eternal! Ultimately it is his affirmation upon which we need to focus. And in the end of the day his approval and his affirmation are all that really matter.