Affirmation: the First Benefit of Spiritual Camaraderie


Affirmation should not be undervalued. The word affirmation is abused in pop psychology, but abuse does not merit abandonment. Many a Christian man will step each day into a workplace in which he is the only person around him whose life goal is to know, serve, and delight in the lord Jesus Christ. He will feel like an exile in a foreign land, trying to maintain an identity that is threatened by the culture around him. In such arid conditions, the vitality of faith begins to evaporate, drop by drop, day by day. Zeal will cool; focus will relax; resolve will weaken. Just as plants need water, human beings need affirmation. For identity to be maintained we need, regularly, to look into the eyes of a circle of people who reflect back to us our deep loves, our guiding aspirations, and our distinct point of view. Spiritual friends provide this. A man does not need a throng of people to affirm the root of his identity. He needs a few, select voices who will confirm to him in moments of self-doubt that he is headed in the right direction.