image (1)The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Jarvis Jones out of Georgia with the 17th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, but he has yet to live up to expectations.

Steelers’ linebackers coach and former player, Joey Porter, recently raised some concerns about Jones focusing too much attention on what others say about him: “…he takes the challenge of what everybody thinks more than I think he should. I’m glad I didn’t play in this era. I didn’t come up in the social media era. I don’t have none of that stuff now. In this era, people care what they say. They make themselves too available.”

I believe players (as much as they don’t want to admit it) hear the criticism loud and clear from fans and media, and must constantly wrestle with all of the noise not having a negative affect on them.

My guess is, Jones is not the only one who has an issue with worrying about what others think or say about him. I’m sure we often find ourselves trying to prove people wrong when they are critical, and exerting energy to gain validation from them. We tend to want our decisions and accomplishments approved by others.

When it comes to social media or bringing up topics in conversation, are we putting too much stock in how people respond? Do their comments then determine how we feel and prove our self-worth? Do we only communicate aspects of our lives that we believe will get a positive response, so others think what we do is amazing? Or are we genuinely sharing our lives – regardless of how we think people will react?

As followers of Jesus, I think we have to be careful about whose opinion we’re seeking. Of course, we want people to be happy for us and want to share the highs and lows of life with those that are close to us, but if getting a confirming response from people is what drives us, then it can be an issue. We have to watch out when others are dictating our actions and feelings.

The Bible says in Galatians 1:10(ESV), For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

We can consider the opinions and criticism of others to a certain extent, but ultimately our goal in life should be to please God. Our biggest concern should be how God views us, while resting in the knowledge that we are His because of what Jesus did on the cross.

As a result, our desire for others’ approval lessens and we no longer have to be swayed by their comments and validation. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

 PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please give me the strength to seek Your approval above anyone else’s. Help me to be genuine and not so worried about what others think or say about me. Please give me peace in knowing that I am Yours because of Jesus, and I don’t have to prove anything to anyone else. Thank you for Your grace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.