Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Seeking Validation: from God or Man?

    Humans aren't all the same in every aspect, but if we relate in a specific area I think one major one would be looking to the world for significance and self worth.  Have you ever thought to yourself: "I wish my family would notice all that I do around here," or "I wish someone would say something nice about me for a change."  Maybe you wanted to be complimented for your physical or mental attributes . . .?

    Ever been there?  Me too. 

    I've struggled many times, feeling like I wasn't worth enough, or like I wasn't being appreciated for the work and qualities I contributed to those around me . . . family, friends, co-workers . . .  
    When others didn’t say what I hoped they would, it bothered me. But the reality is, I can’t always depend on others to make me feel appreciated or significant.
    It's no mystery that man's natural inclination is to look to the world for approval.  In fact, our society teaches that we need to strive to "fit-in" with the world, rather than focusing on being enigmatic.  High schools and even the work environment are notorious for ranking individuals based upon cliques, looks, extracurricular involvement, and wits.  Much of life is based upon rank.  In Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes, “I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor.  This too is vanity and striving after wind” 

    Trying to find our worth based upon human rank, performance, or others’ acceptance is never going to satisfy or fulfill the void that rejection and hurt has left in our hearts.  It is 'striving after wind.'  What is more important, the pleasures of sin in this life or the riches of eternal life in Christ?  If we live our lives according to God's standards, ignoring what man might think, say, or do to us, we will be well-off in heaven.  But if we choose to compromise and compete with man here on worldly terms for worldly things, we will lose out in eternal rewards.
    The perspective that we need to have is found in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, which says, "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

    Suffering is one of the best things to remind us that we don’t want to put all of our investments into the here and now.  We need to fixate our eyes on the eternal, viewing this life as a journey into eternity.  Why chase the approval of man?  Why look to earthly things to fill a void that only Jesus can fill?  Why constantly compete to look better than someone else?  Someone will always be better at something, more beautiful, or more successful than we are.  Rather, we ought to enjoy what God has blessed us with and use it to the best of our ability to the glory of God.
    Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”  

    When we come to the point where we view everything as an act of worship to God, we will finally ignore the approval of man.  When what God says is the only verdict that matters, man’s opinions won’t matter any longer. 

    Friends, I struggled in this area for years, and those experiences left me with a low self esteem that still sneaks in and shows its ugly face every now and then.  When that happens, I have to start admitting my feelings to God and asking for His help.  I know that if I am going to change and repair my lack of self-worth I need to continually read the word of God and look to Him for His guidance in that area.

    Our self-worth is too often based on what other people tell us about ourselves, even though the One, true Authority on our self-worth is Jesus Christ.  He gave His own life for us by dying on a cross!  That, my friends, should tell us just how valuable we really are.


1 comment:

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