Doesn't it make your day when someone affirms you? It's like a refreshing dip in the lake after a long, hot day, or an ice, cold Coke when you're really hot and thirsty. Ahhh! Maybe it's the way I'm wired, but affirmation spurs me on to stay the course. How about you?
God affirms us in our obedience to Him many times through the words and actions of others. By telling us that we're doing a good job or how we have impacted their life, others affirm who we are in Christ.
Affirmation isn't designed to make our heads swell. It's designed to shrink our egos. Who we are and what we do is not about us. It's all about Him. The idea that a great and mighty God is working out His purpose for His glory through His people should bring us to our knees. When we submit to His authority in our lives and allow Him to work in and through us, we cannot take any credit. Affirmation is confirmation that Christ is being glorified through our obedience.
"He must become greater; I must become less." (John 3:30 NIV)
Rick and I had been asked to write a devotional each for a friend's son who is graduating from high school and leaving in a few weeks for the Naval Academy. He will be gone for quite a while without any family contact. His mom is putting together a devotional book for him from friends, family, and mentors to encourage him on his new adventure. As Rick read mine, he affirmed me in my writing ability by saying how good it was and telling me that I write well. Words of affirmation especially from my sweet husband are words I treasure. I even wrote them down in my gifts journal.
#757- Sweet words of affirmation from my husband about my writing ability.
You could be the one God uses to motivate someone else to press on, to stay the course, to keep the faith. With sincerity, our words should intentionally edify, encourage and build up others in the Body of Christ when we observe their obedience to Christ. Whether our encouragement is given through a card, phone call, email, text, or face to face, we should acknowledge when someone has made a difference in our lives or in the lives of others for the glory of God. Affirmation supplies sweet refreshment in the life of a weary warrior. Just as Paul was seeking refreshment from Philemon's obedience, we can refresh others through our obedience by affirming and encouraging one another in the name of Jesus Christ. This can cause a ripple effect. One act of obedience leads to another act of obedience, which leads to another and another.
As Paul wrote to Philemon: "refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing you will do even more than I ask." (Philemon 20b-21 NIV)