I'm not sure what age most of us get our first hit, but it seems evident that by the time we become teenagers, most of us have become full-blown addicts. As teenagers, we make our decisions and walk the hallways under the influence. Eventually we transition into adulthood, and while we may have become more professional and maybe even gotten a degree, we make new, bigger decisions under the same influence.
The longer we use the drug, the more normal it becomes. We've learn to deal with this; it's just the way we are. We've gotten better a hiding our problem and when it's been exposed, we can explain it. But the problem is still there and it's not getting better... if anything, we just need more to get the same feeling.
The drug is acceptance.
I don't know when this drug starts to take hold of us, but it seems like acceptance is the drug that every one craves. We crave the attention and acceptance of others, longing for some sort of approval that will validate our own sense of worth. Perhaps this is the result of what Luther described as being curved inward. Because of our own selfishness, we crave the rest of the world's curving towards us to - acceptance is the world's nod to whatever it is we are doing and telling us that we are as important as we think we are.
And this modern world of social media, blogging, platform building, and marketing doesn't help. And while these things are helpful and important tools that I love, I often inevitably find myself feeding the monster by checking followers counts, e-mail opens, and unique visitors. But why? Perhaps I can convince myself that it is to improve in my craft. But most of the time, it's to validate myself. Most of the time, it's because I'm craving the acceptance of others.
Acceptance makes the approval of other god. It seeks the laugh, the invitation, the retweet above anything else and makes others god and demotes God himself to an afterthought. How often have I demoted the authority of God for the sake of seeking the authority of a platform?
Check out what Robert Capon says about this dangerous drug:
“But preachers can’t be that naughty or brave unless they’re free from their own need for the dope of acceptance. And they wont be free of their need until they can trust the God who has already accepted them, in advance and dead as door-nails, in Jesus. Ergo, the absolute indispensability of trust in Jesus’ passion. Unless the faith of preachers is in that alone-and not in any other person, ecclesiastical institution, theological system, moral prescription, or master recipe for human loveliness-they will be of very little use in the pulpit.”
I'm rarely brave.
I too often spend too much time checking traffic and followers and views and get caught up in acceptance. And this isn't just a digital thing - in my career, in my friendships - I find myself constantly seeking the approval and validation of others.
Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." It's not about me. My acceptance and approval comes from the one who loved me and gave himself for me. And he's not waiting for a version of me that matches the filtered version of me that I'd like for everybody to see, he approves and accepts the messy, broken, sinful me.
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:6-8
Whose validation are you relying on? Whose acceptance are you waiting for?
Jesus frees us from our endless need for another hit of acceptance. He frees us from finding our worth in the approval because we already have the approval we need. He free us trying to climb the ladder of good enough by coming down the ladder and offering to us himself. @@Jesus accepts you as you are - sins, flaws, insecurities and all.@@