Once during an interview for his new book, Donald Miller (the author of Blue Like Jazz) was asked what he hoped to achieve with his writing.
“Honestly,” he said after a few moments, “I just want to be liked.”
Miller’s answer is one we can all relate to. It feels good to be liked, to be included, and to receive affirmation from the people around you. Who doesn’t smile when someone pays them a compliment? Who doesn’t enjoy seeing positive comments under their latest Facebook video? Wanting to be liked is a perfectly natural desire, but what happens when a person starts hunting applause?
Jade Mazarin of Relevant recently cautioned her readers from pursuing too much validation from others. Christians, she warned, can often forget some key facts when it comes to seeking approval. She writes,
How Others Act is A Reflection of Them.
“The Bible says, ‘Out of the heart the mouth speaks.’ What a person says, or what they do for that matter, comes from within them. It all flows from their life experiences, along with their own potential insecurities and past wounds. It has nothing to do with us. We shouldn’t take responsibility for something that comes from within another person. And we certainly shouldn’t label ourselves by biased messages.”
Others Don’t Have the Knowledge of God.
“When we are grasping for feedback from other people, we give them an authority in our own lives. In essence, we’re asking them to tell us who we are. Not only does this dishonor God, who alone is our creator, but it also just isn’t accurate. Even the closest person to us doesn’t know us as well as God does. They haven’t been around our whole lives, seen us through our journeys, known our inner world or potential as God does. And they also don’t know what the future holds for us.”
“Another person can’t determine your status if they don’t know you from the inside out.”
Mazarin isn’t alone in her observations either. Josh Buice, of the DBG Blog, once wrote how believers shouldn’t be so caught up in public opinion. He feels our desperate attempts to appear noteworthy have caused us to lose sight of Christ’s commandments. Christians, he writes, need to accept that the gospel was never intended to make us cool, but remind us to be faithful,
Christians Should Always Be Faithful
“As we explore the early church in the book of Acts, we don’t see them majoring on set designs, hipster clothing, and church branding to get the gospel to the ends of the world. The early Christians were very much under submission to Christ’s rule and their lives exemplified holiness – not rebellion. We don’t see the need for the early church to use antinomianism to carry the torchlight of the gospel onward. Instead, we see people who were faithful to the gospel – even to the point of death – in order to get the gospel to the ends of the world.”
All of us want to feel loved and accepted, but what’s truly important is that God loves us above all others. Christ has called us to be holy and devoted to Him. To live in such a way that His grace is reflected onto everyone we meet. In the end, His approval is the only one that matters, and that’s worth more than all the applause in the world.
What about you? Have you been seeking worldly affirmation? Be sure to leave a comment in the section below!
*Ryan Duncan is an Editor at Crosswalk.com