The quest for affirmation is legendary. It is a daunting, timeless, difficult, and never- ending quest for some.
The good news is that God is the Alpha and Omega, and the beginning and the end (Rev. 22:13). So the quest that people begin on ends in the same place-God himself.
Before we get back to that I want to prove to you that this quest exists. You can see travelers on this quest in the way people relate to one another. If you are always looking to be wanted and liked you are on it.
If you are always adjusting your personality depending on who you are around then you are on it. The pain of people rejecting you reveals your quest has not reached its end yet.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. You were designed to have affirmation, but the places we look to, more often the people we look to, weren’t designed to be your source of it.
The beginning of mankind’s story in Genesis is so foundational. That is why it is at the beginning. It gives us the foundation for who we are as people. If you don’t come to know the foundation you are designed with, you will always try to build yourself on another foundation, just to find yourself crumbling again and again.
The reason you have never had lasting fulfillment in your search for fulfillment from people is because they can’t give it to you. You are looking for affirmation only to find a feeling, and one that is fleeting. It only lasts unil it wears off, then you need another hit of it.
If God is the beginning, let’s look to the beginning. The Bible says we were made in God’s image (Gen. 1:28). An image is physical representation of something. This is borrowing from the language of ancient idol worship. Not that it’s a bad thing for the Bible to do, the truth of God’s word existed before any idols did, I would say that idol worship borrowed from and perverted the reality of God’s design from its conception.
We can see our image in the mirror. So being in God’s image is like looking at God’s reflection. Sin came in the world and diluted that image, but we are still made in that image. We are a poor reflection now, but when Christ returns we will be just like him (Col. 3:4).
An image in ancient idol worship was not the god but represented it. It was something someone could go to meet with it.
People are one of the primary ways God meets with people. If you ask for help from God, so many times it comes in the package of a person.
We are not our source though. If we are looking for affirmation, that means we were designed for it. If we are made in God’s image then that means only God can give it.
What does that mean? What does that look like? God’s love is our affirmation. When people are looking for affirmation they are looking for everything that love provides. The good news is that it exists, and it is more than a feeling-love is God himself (1 Jn. 4:8). He not only is it, He demonstrated it.”We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us…” (1 Jn. 3:16).
If we haven’t found that love yet, it is not because it isn’t there, it is just because we can’t see it right in front of us. God, who is a Spirit we cannot see at the moment, became a man who we can see, and laid down his life for us on a cross in a highly visible way. When we accept that and believe in Him that love comes to exist in us through the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:23, Rom. 5:5).
Love exists for everyone, but only those that trust in Christ can see it, and have it dwell inside of them. It’s not about feelings or being a nice person, but about the embodiment of the very source of love itself taking up residence in a person.
If that is true for you, and you can “see” the invisible, then you can stop begging for love because you already have it. Not only that, you can be a reflection of it to others.
The other half of 1 Jn. 3:16 says in response to the love Christ demonstrated for us, “and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
In a culture that teaches you to beg for affirmation, God can so give it to you that you are willing to lay down your life for others. You can do it not just once, but everyday, because you have within you the very love that you are designed for. The slavery of your life being about you can be over when you realize your life is about Him.
Article by Chase O'Dell - Founder of Bridgeway Ministries