Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Source of Praise

Of what do we boast? In what ways do we seek praise? All of us enjoy the pat on the back, recognition for a job well done, and sincere appreciation for the value of our contributions. God knows that about us. He also knows that sometimes we grow impatient, waiting on all that good feedback, and feel compelled to help it along a bit. Proverbs guides us away from the need to self-promote and self-congratulate.

Proverbs 27
1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
2Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.
19As in water face reflects face,
So a man's heart reveals the man.
21The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And a man is valued by what others say of him.

I often can confound myself in this area. When in my weakness I seek undue attention, it is often at precisely those moments when I experience the moral equivalent of the toilet paper trailing from my shoe. You know what I mean. When I am most looking for that positive affirmation of my skills, or abilities, or performance, that's when my tires go flat.

Yet when we don't look for praise, or when it comes unexpected, how much greater joy we feel! How much more pumped up we are, how much more gratified. These experiences are a reflection of our hearts, and that is why so many very famous people who strive for attention, are so miserable and forlorn. When you have to work that hard at recognition, you don't end up feeling very good about yourself, and ironically, your need for positive affirmation increases all the more.

Seek first His righteousness, then all these will be added unto you.


Anonymous rt said...

Isn't that the key..."seek first his kingdom..." seek him first?. Why is it so hard to do that when we claim to know and follow Him? I praise God for his faithfulness, that He honors his Word, his promise. If we could just get this simple truth through our heads. I try to encourage my deployed friends to do just what you are living. Some do it and it is great to see them grab it. But then others, professing Christians, still stay in the negative state of mind. And I thank God for your testimony. I thank him that, despite being away from your family, you are living out in front of those who are carrying the burden of this war, the walk of Christ. Because of this you are going to have many good memories and friends who you influenced for Christ for years to come. Awesome blessings! You give me hope too, that there are real men of God out there!

2:20 AM  

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