The Affirmation Idol
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20: 3
In the book of Judges God’s people continued to return to idol worship. They bowed down to graven images as they served the gods of the people living in the promised land. We as 21st century believers are just as prone to idol worship but instead of Baal or Ashteroth, ours may be called comfort, control, or affirmation.
Have you considered praise from others to be an idol? Of course, there is nothing wrong with receiving or releasing encouragement. It’s Biblical to bless one another with this kind of thankful affirmation. But as receivers of this gift, we must be careful to deflect all glory to God.
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.” Proverbs 27: 21
If we do what we do because we are addicted to praise and affirmation from others, then that is our reward.
Our service for God should flow from a heart that loves God. We serve Him because we love Him – -not because we are looking to be made much of or thought much of or thanked or appreciated.
You know affirmation has become an idol if while preparing a special meal for a family you are already thinking about how they will brag on your cherry pie.
You know affirmation has become an idol if you are frustrated that the new bride did not send you a proper thank you note for the lovely gift you gave.
You know affirmation has become an idol if the pastor did not brag on your VBS decorations.
You know affirmation has become an idol if your family barely looks at the beautiful scrapbook you made of the family vacation.
Always know this – your Father in heaven sees all. Even if your brothers and sisters in Christ, your friends and family, your husband and children fail to acknowledge or appreciate you, your father in heaven sees. He knows. Get your strokes from Him. Let pleasing Him be your chief aim.
If we have no expectations from others, then we will not be disappointed when they don’t read the lines we have written for them. But when they do thank us and appreciate us, we can receive their thanks with a grateful heart, and deflect all glory to God.
The woman of God lives to please God.
And as she dies to her desire to be praised, she finds the weight of pleasing others and the addiction to affirmation has lost its hold. She can serve God and love on others just for the joy of living and loving Jesus.
Here’s the link to the complete lecture for this week’s study in Judges: