Summary: Living by the flesh produces no good thing, especially praise from others.
The Ultimate Decision
August 27, 2014
Some of our recent devotionals has been about how God tests us. He cannot tempt us but He can allow us to be tempted. Isn’t it amazing that Satan has to go through God to get to us:) In anything we go through in this life it is to build our faith and for us to get a hold of how we can depend upon the Lord. We have talked about how too much money can change a person but also too much praise can do the same thing. I have seen people hired into a position of influence and within weeks they change and it is not for the better. Solomon who knows a little bit about wealth and praise and he put it this way.
Proverbs 27:21 “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.”
In ancient times they used a crucible to draw out the impurities of silver and a furnace to draw out the impurities of gold. But in today’s world a lot of our personal impurities can come out by people praising us. When you look at Professional Athletes who make more money in one day than most of us make in a year they are put in a tough position. It may seem that they have it great but heap tons of praise 24/7 for years on end and it would be very tough to not buy into your own press. Having the power and then getting false praise from others is a set up for moral and personal failure. Even genuine praise can be harmful if one is not ready for it.
But you don’t have to be a professional athlete or a high paying CEO to fall from the accolades of praise. We can get snared by praise from our assistant or our friends. If we think that we are the ones who have the talent then we can start to allow the arrogance of the flesh to take over the Spirit filled characteristics of the Spirit in our soul. I am here to tell you today that all your hard work, training and working countless hours will NOT guarantee victory.
Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.”
God gives us our talents, WE DO NOT EARN THEM. He gives us an aptitude for physics or for English, a body for football or one for swimming and a sprit that needs Him. When you can finally understand that God is in control and He ALONE is the one to be praised then when people praise you, you can say Thank You and then IMMEDIATELY give praise to God. They are not praising you, they can’t. Because it is not you who is doing great works. It is a great God who has done a great work in you.
When Jesus was being accused before his crucifixion on the cross he could have easily said, “How Dare You” talk to me like this, don’t you know who I am? Why did he take the abuse and lack of praise from the very people He created? Because He knew this very profound statement.
John 19:11 “Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
So the next time you think or say, “How Dare You” when someone harms you, think of Jesus. God knows when people harm you and He delights in making uneven scales even.(Proverbs 20:23) Please don’t fall ,or worse yet, look for the praise of men and women. Just fall for the Lord and then everything else will fall into place. If you have a problem with arrogance please pray this with me.
“Lord I can feel so arrogant and prideful at times. Please forgive me for this sin. Lord all I desire is to see the love you have for me. If I could feel that love I would not desire any praise from another. Lord help me to slow down and listen to you. Please come into my life Lord in a mighty way and crucify the deeds and thoughts of my flesh. Please strip off all that is hindering my walk with you and to help free me from the desire of praise. Thank you Jesus for listening to my prayers and for healing me”. Amen
Now go out today and look for those who are hurting. Jesus will put you in front of them. Then when people thank you for a job well done just say thank you and then look up into the heavens and say “Thank You Lord” for working in and through me. You and you alone Lord deserve all my praise.”