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Dissecting Our Ache for Affirmation

Selfies. Facebook. Instagram. Google+. Twitter. Pinterest. We certainly aren't lacking in options for building a platform upon which to display our interests and broadcast our news.

Much has been written as of late about crafted personnas and narcissistic behavior. Easy blame can be placed on social media that tempts us to obsess over likes and follows and comments. Social media didn’t birth this phenomenon, however. Our search for 15 minutes (and more) of fame goes back much, much further.

In his book Glory Hunger, pastor J. R. Vassar suggests our need for affirmation is rooted in creation itself:

“As the scene closes in the first chapter of the Scriptures, God looks upon all he has made, Adam and Eve his proudest making, and hands down the verdict, ‘very good.’ “

[…]

“Adam and Eve gloried in that verdict. It was the most important thing about them and the greatest thing that could be said of them.”

All that was good at creation was soon tarnished when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God. Sin entered into the world and into their hearts. What was once deemed very good was now riddled with sin. Adam and Eve were left desperate for God’s approval—as are we. This is why, as Vassar explains, we are hungry for glory. Our hearts still ache for God’s very-good verdict, and we’re looking for a bit of soothing anywhere we can find it.

The good news is Jesus never stopped hearing the Father’s very-good verdict. His perfect life, death, and resurrection were offered to God on our behalf, freeing us from sin. With Jesus as our substitute, God’s very-good verdict for Him is attributed to us as well.

That’s where we will find rest for the yearning common to us all, and that’s the message the world needs to hear. People need to know that the ache they have for affirmation and approval is an echo from ages past. It is evidence that we were made for something this world cannot give, something that comes from God alone.

Here we find an easy entry point for sharing the beauty of God's Story. We are all desperate, all in need . . . and God has provided something more powerful and permanent than what we can find arrange through fleeting social media fame.

Cover photo by Tom Chapman

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