Dealing With Affirmation

Posted: August 31, 2015 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
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As an artist, and as a Christian, it is wise to wean yourself from a dependence on affirmation. Better to have the approval of God than the approval of men, and also quite frankly, the approval of men can be hard to come by. If you allow yourself to gauge your success or failure based on human affirmation, as an artist and/or as a believer, you might be in for a world of hurt. Better to pray for guidance and move out in the assurance of God’s love, grace and faithfulness.

That being said…

Affirmation is still a wonderful thing. Something to be received graciously and humbly. I’ve received several of them in the last day and they have really blessed me tremendously. How we handle this wonderful blessing is imperative. Here are three ways to make sure you handle affirmation properly.

1. Don’t let it go to your head. As Christians, we are more the instrument than the masterpiece. The glory belongs to God alone. Appreciate affirmation, it’s a good thing and may well be God using that person to show you you’re on the right track, but direct the glory to God.

2. Be appreciative and humble. This refers to step one to some degree, but goes a bit further. The person affirming you didn’t have to do it. They went out of their way to show you appreciation. Appreciate the person. He or she is a blessing.

3. For goodness sake, take it to heart. If you’re like most artists, especially believing artists, you will want to deflect glory while taking every harsh, ugly, condemning criticism to the very core of your being. This is exactly backwards. Ugly, condemning stuff is never from God so why would you take it into the heart where God lives? God allowed you to do something that touched and blessed someone enough that they went out of their way to praise what you have done. Receive it AND give God the glory.

Two last things. Sometimes affirmation comes from wrong motives. Test everything against the Word and the Spirit. Don’t let a false affirmation take you down a wrong path. And lastly, affirmation is encouragement and encouragement is a good thing. You know how it feels to receive it. Don’t be afraid (or hesitant) to give it. You may just spur someone on to love and good deeds, the very thing we are called to do.

Thank people for their affirmations, give God the glory and do something else that is praiseworthy.

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