“For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the LORD commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:18)
2a: to support or corroborate on a sound or authoritative basis
2b: to recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of
We live in a world where people are literally dying for recognition. Finding worth in and through things that really don’t matter at the end of the day, at least not where our souls or our relationship with Adonai are concerned. Sometimes the recognition sought after is a rather subtle attempt to have people agree with one’s ideals and theology – therefore validating them as a person. Other times people seek validation through their work, gifts, and/or talents. But does not the Word state something very different? Does it not state to keep your mind on things from “above” (be Kingdom-minded)? If you find yourself wanting people to see things your way and agree with your ideology, theology, and perspective of the world, or, are provoked to share your work only to be well-received and approved by man, it is time to ask a hard question and not be afraid of the answer you receive from Above: Are you desirous of worldly validation?
I love this translation of Colossians 3 (v. 1-4 Aramaic Bible in Plain English): “If therefore you are risen with The Messiah, seek that which is above, the place where The Messiah sits at the right side of God. Feed on that which is above and not that which is in The Earth, For you have died to yourselves and your lives are hidden with The Messiah in God. And whenever The Messiah, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.” Feed – just as we are to consume the words and witness of Messiah for he is our daily bread, our manna from heaven, so too are we to receive our validation only from our relationship with Him. His love and faithfulness to us are as the bride to the bridegroom; His ways and thoughts, are to be our thoughts and ways.
Why do you strive child?
Why do we strive to be “more” in this world, instead of striving to only be who The Father says we are?
Why do we get trapped into believing we must market our God-given gifts and talents when it is actually Yahweh who opens and closes doors on our behalf?
The effort we should be putting into serving Him, we instead put into the ways of this world. Why are we not striving to create a Kingdom-minded community of support – not to validate our existence, rather to give Him alone glory?
We can only achieve this through spiritual discernment, by taking off our old flesh (ways and thoughts learned in the world) and putting on the new man (receiving and learning to abide in the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit and God’s ways). “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God—so we might come to know the things freely given to us by God. These things we also speak—not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Ruach, explaining the spiritual to the spiritual.” (1 Cor 2:12-13 TLV)
We only need His approval
Why do we fall into the validation trap? There are many completely human reasons: fear, insecurity, family and societal pressures, and pressure to “fit in” when we don’t and aren’t supposed to. We are supposed to be ‘in but not of this world’. The way we run our businesses and ministries, go about our jobs, and offer our gifts and talents are to resemble His ways, not the ways of the world. Yet, we do it just like they do: We become YouTubers, we get sucked into social media marketing, we put together extravagant events (online and in-person) trying to draw people into whatever project/community we are hoping people will notice, and we do it in HIS name.
Hey, Yeshua had a following and had big events, so should we. (NO!!)
Before you get upset, understand I am not condemning your desire to do things in His name. I am however led to point out the “if we can’t beat them, join them” perspective. I’m not saying it’s “wrong” to put your sermons, teachings, or talent on social platforms, but realize this: He will take note of you seeking validation while on there. Do you realize that these platforms were designed to mess with your psychology? They make you strive to do things that as a Disciple of Yeshua aren’t kosher! Pray, pray, pray earnestly, friends, on whether or not you are truly serving Yahweh/God or serving mammon!
“Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters,
not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers,
but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord
you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ…”
(Colossians 3:22-24 ESV)
How I personally cope
It is not only social platforms but other ways in which we are pushed to seek validation.
I recall back when I was helping to lead worship while attending Sunday churches, I had to wrestle my flesh – tooth and nail – to make sure it was about glorifying Yahweh/Yeshua and not feeding my need for validation as a human being. Yes, I was aware and it was because the Holy Spirit told me flat out to keep my motives in check. Over the years He has shown me why I was drawn to performing at a young age. While I absolutely do possess God-given talents, I was also abused and neglected by my earthly parents and others, so this is something those pesky ungodly spirits picked up and ran with for most of my life. The Father of course knew this about me and once He released me to use my talents for the Kingdom, was quite stern about keeping me in my place, teaching me what HE wanted and how to overcome what my flesh desired.
It doesn’t matter if I am singing or writing, I have learned to reel in my flesh to be certain only Yahweh is getting the glory.
Honestly, every time I write a blog post I loathe sharing it outside of this website. I’ve prayed over this many times because I know what He says or provokes me to write isn’t meant to be kept under a basket and hidden. I post only to my personal social platform walls and if others share it, wonderful! I am not in any groups where I’d feel compelled to place a link back to this website. Once upon a time, years back, I was doing this but He kept me in check. Then the time came when He told me to remove the FB page (actually all social media) and leave the groups related to this website/my writing.
Because I was being tempted to make it about me. I was beginning to be “known” in the Christian writing and blogging circles. My stories and poetry were being published and people wanted to be in “my” circle. When He asked me to leave it all behind, I didn’t hesitate to obey. (I presently have a small group of fellow Believers in my FB circle, and I’m honestly only on FB because I run marketing for a client who has a page.)
While I would love to have a bigger following to share what he brings forth through me, that is up to Adonai. Once in a while, He’ll tell me to “go here” and share, and I will; but the second I begin to feel weird, I delete the account. I prefer people find this website/blog organically than by my efforts, and I believe that honors Yahweh and fits His ways.
Another example that was hard for me: I was recently led to let go of a creative services business I’d been marketing for several years. I painstakingly built and curated the website copy to be certain He was given the headline, not me. I know He told me to go forward with this back when I began, yet the only clients I got were word of mouth from people I know or former clients. (Thus the decision to pull everything back into this website and create space for it.)
I have wondered: Did Yahweh have me build this knowing that in the future He’d ask me to give it up? (It is certainly possible.) One of the things He spoke into my heart as I was being led to deconstruct everything was that “I don’t need to be more than who I am, more than who He created me to be.” In this stage of my life, and after all I’ve endured over the past year, I don’t care to be more. I simply want to abide in Adonai.
To be frank, I don’t have the energy to market my gifts and talents any longer and it’s because I hate the “game.” It is exhausting and to me, vanity. I only need to be deemed worthy by the One who made me so. Selah.
“Next, I realized that all effort and achievement stem from one person’s envy of another, This too is futility and feeding on the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:4)