Years ago, I remember pushing away from my desk, walking down the hallway to a co-worker’s office. Once there, I bluntly asked what he thought of the most recent issue of the publication I worked on.
I saw the pained look on his face. It was obvious that I was fishing for a compliment. My coworker knew it, and he awkwardly answered it was great.
Later, I hated myself for what I had just done. It also wasn’t the first time I did something like that. Insecure people crave feedback from others to affirm them in their gifting, ministry or job.
But these pats on the back are like a drug. Once is never enough and you desire these constant affirmations from others to keep you going.
As you begin to minister in spiritual gifts or areas of ministry, this is one area that must be nipped in the bud.
Insecure people are constantly tempted to find out if the words they are giving have impacted the people receiving them or if the teaching was relevant.
They wrongly feel that this will strengthen them in their gifting.
In fact, it has the exact the opposite effect, as these affirmations actually produce unbelief and doubt in the person receiving them. This happens even if people are saying that your word or teaching really hit the mark.
In John 5:44, Jesus said:
“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God.”
In this verse, Jesus says when we receive glory or affirmation from people, it actually impedes our ability to believe. Instead of creating faith, pats on the back create unbelief as we use these temporary emotional highs to keep us going.
In the end, they actually degrade our inner confidence in God’s gifting or calling. Then like a desperate drug addict, we are start hunting around for our next hit.
Now if you minister to people, you can’t stop them from spontaneously saying your ministry really helped them. But even in these instances, we need to guard our heart.
Jesus told His disciples, “I do not receive glory from men” (John 5:41 NASV). This did not mean, that people didn’t express their appreciation to Christ, but it tells us that the Lord didn’t embrace their words.
Jesus purposefully guarded His heart during these situations looking to receive glory from God instead of man.
If we need this constant affirmation from others to keep us going, we will grow dependent on what they say. Then when someone comes along and says the word was wrong or our teaching off (and it will happen), our faith is shattered, even though it may have been exactly what God wanted us to say.
This is why Jesus said we must look to God for glory not man. We need the inner confidence that we are doing the Lord’s work.
If you struggle in this area, the first step is to acknowledge your insecurity and the second is start weaning yourself off the addictive glory of man.