NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, July 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
Today, Andrée Seu Peterson is here with thoughts on an age-old problem: finding our worth apart from God.
ANDRÉE SEU PETERSON, COMMENTATOR: I look at women. It’s a bad habit and I have to stop. This is not a lust thing, but I cast surreptitious glances at my gender passing on the street to see where I fit in the hierarchy of being. I derive assurance from homeliness and terror from beauty. I grade on a curve.
There, I’m as shallow as that.
When you don’t have an internal sense of Self, you need an external-and a constant supply of it. You’re condemned to roam the earth a parasite.
If you tell me I am something, I am something. But you’d better say it every day, or at least once a week, because I’ve become a junkie for your praise, and my kingdom is in constant danger of overthrow.
This is not different from what goes on in hell. The junior demon Wormwood, recipient of formally affectionate but vaguely disturbing correspondence, finally asks point blank if his Uncle loves him. “Love you?” comes the reply. “Why, yes. As dainty a morsel as I ever grew fat on.”
Screwtape’s final communique, after the mission has gone badly, is signed, “Your increasingly and ravenously affectionate uncle.”
We are all in need of a Self, of being somebody with respect to an outside source of approval. It is not as if there are people who need to be affirmed and other people who don’t. It’s just a matter of who’s affirmation you seek.
In 1944 C.S. Lewis said of all the charges he might have given eager young scholars, he warned against desiring to be in “the inner ring.”
He said—quote—”I believe that in all men’s lives at certain periods, and in many men’s lives at all periods . . . one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local ring and the terror of being left outside.”
Lewis adds, “Unless you take measures to prevent it, this desire is going to be one of the chief motives of your life. . . . Any other kind of life, if you lead it, will be the result of conscious and continuous effort.”
Failing your “conscious and continuous effort,” the Lord, in His mercy, may send a storm into your life.
Perhaps all lusts are corruptions of good desires. Desiring affirmation is a good thing if it is the Lord’s affirmation, not man’s. Before “sin, the flesh, and the devil” got a hold of us in Eden, we desired—and we had—sweet intimacy with the Lord. And because of that, with each other.
Revelation 2:17 shows us God tenders acceptance: “I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” That’s affirmation.
My soul, find yourself in Jesus and be free.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Andrée Seu Peterson.