We love, because He first loved us.
-1 John 4:19
I’m convinced that on the inside of every one of us is a need to be loved.
I believe it’s a basic human need. As real as our need for food or water or anything else. We humans crave acceptance, affirmation, and a sense of security for our souls. God created us this way. He designed us with a drive to be valued, cared for, and esteemed. We want something or someone to tell us we’re good enough. That we are validated. It’s like we’re desperate to hear, “This person is valuable; this person is worthy of love”.
It’s why we all want to achieve some level of significance and purpose for our lives: we want to ascribe value to ourselves by belonging to someone or something great.
If you look at the world today, I think it’s a lot like the old country song says:
We’re “looking for love in all the wrong places”.
We run after affirmation in the form of money, success, alcohol, food, romantic relationships, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. As crazy as it sounds, we can even run to religion, without running to God. I would define being “religious” as “about God without God”. Driven by shame, religion performs for God. But it never receives from God.
We’re running to dry, empty wells—things that cannot ultimately satisfy.
I have seen this in my own life. I was enslaved to people’s opinions—and terrified by their disapproval. If enough people could like me—if enough people could validate me, then I would be something. I would have significance.
My identity was so tightly locked into what other people thought of me because my self-image was shattered. Like, I am talking it was extreme. I was violently tossed to and fro by the waves of human opinion. One harsh word. One weird look. Even the thought of someone possibly not liking me could totally ruin my day. I even cared about the opinions of people I didn’t even like! (Have you ever been there? How silly is this, huh?)
I was terrified of what people thought about me. I may have seemed like a confident club DJ on the outside, but on the inside I was desperate for love and affirmation. Like many people, I carried around a broken record player in my head,
“There’s something wrong with you. There’s something wrong with you. There’s something wrong with you…”
The inner critic, my constant companion. This self-loathing and embarrassment would fade if I experienced some success, or my “approval tank” was full. It was like a high! But a public failure, a single slight, or a disapproving look would cause the voice to flare up again:
“Ah, you see, AJ! You were right! There’s something wrong with you. There’s something wrong with you. There’s something wrong with you…”
I was running to empty wells. People and their opinions make for a poor god.
But let me ask you: what are you running to?
Romans 5:8 says this,
“God demonstrates and clearly proves His own love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.
Jesus is God’s overwhelming affirmation towards us! The Cross is God’s invitation to you. Receive His love for you today.
His opinion of you will become louder than any other voice in your life! His great and surpassing love will become a tangible reality in your life! If you will seek Him, and open up your heart to Him, He will show you His powerful love. It’s a love that never fails. And it becomes an unstoppable force in your life and overflows as grace and strength for successful living.
I’ve seen this in my own life. I share about what I’ve seen and what I know. I am not where I need to be… but thank God I am not where I used to be! I can still slide into manpleasing, but I’ve come to know one thing:
the love displayed at the Cross is real. And it’s for YOU!
Father, thank You that you love me. Thank you that you affirm me in Christ.
Father, I entrust my heart to You. I turn away from any fake gods in my life.
I want to know Your love for myself.
Lead me deeper into Your great and surpassing love.
Allow Your love to become a tangible reality in my life.
Let me receive mercy, so that I can show mercy.
Father, I believe God loves _______(your name).