Self-praise vs God’s praise

5711064403_66fa0b5872_zProverbs 27:2: Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

What do you have that you were not given, and if you have received it why do you boast (1Corinthians 4:7)? Many people complain that they are not appreciated, but the words of Jesus are that we should see ourselves as unprofitable servants only doing what are our duty is (Luke 17:7-10).

In the manifestation of our gifts, we have the words of Paul that it is God who works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). We need to be careful to do what is right but not because we want the praise of men or have points on which to praise ourselves.

Paul said that we can’t really judge now (whether to praise or to condemn) but at the second coming of Jesus, everyone’s praise will come from God (1Corinthians 4:1-5). Paul called himself a foolish man when he began to give praise points about himself (2Corinthians 11:1), showing that what he is doing is not a general example to be followed.

Boastfulness as an attitude may be suppressed in a person but the way you know it is still there is when the person expects praises from others and is disturbed when it does not come. We need to realise that our praise should come from God, when we hear him say well-done good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21, 23).

God is not into excessive praise, because he knows there is still more ground to cover as far as you are concerned. However, he encourages you and gives you indications that you are on the right tract in his will. How many times did God praise Moses, who was described in the Hebrews as man faithful in all the house of God (Hebrews 3:2)?

Whatever grace we have is as a result of the divine release to us. When John was experiencing the revelation on the island of Patmos, how many words were used by Jesus to praise him for being faithful even after severe persecutions that got him there? In describing his ordeal he puts it in a mere sentence (Revelation 1:9), because he realises, this is not about him or the attention he can get, through praising himself.

When the disciples came back from the spiritual journey that Jesus sent them on to heal the sick, and preach the gospel and they came back, they were rejoicing at how they achieved so much in his name, Jesus cautioned them to not pay too much attention to what they had achieved but instead they should focus on what God has done for them in having their name written in the book of life (Luke 10:17-20).

Peter affirmed that we should be sober and vigilant (1Peter 5:8). He doesn’t want us creating a praise party for ourselves, which is against the spirit of the scriptures.

We see Jacob, when he got to the palace of Pharaoh and he was asked about his age, in answering, he added that his age is not up to those of his fathers (Genesis 47:7-10). He looks for points of humility not self-praise. Jacob before then looked for how he can take advantage and come out tops, but after the encounter with God, he toned down on his aggressive nature.

We are called to deliberately humble ourselves (1Peter 5:5-6), which means we are not interested in hugging the limelight, but only doing the will of God

We should not seek praise from men which is self-praise by proxy, but we should seek the praise that only comes from God. The difference in the two minds set are as different as light from darkness.

The one who seeks the praise of men will always seek to please men, while the one who seeks the praise of God will be after pleasing Him. To follow Jesus means you will only seek to do the desire of God and this will be the ultimate determinant of your life, as you are opened to no other influence except that of God.

We should be busy, making advancements rather than seek to measure up to what is acceptable to others. We need brand new eyes to begin to see ourselves. Paul said that if anyone thinks he knows something, he does not know to the extent that he should know (1Corinthians 8:2). When you realise that we know in part and we prophesy in part then we measure ourselves with a different measure (1Corinthians 13), that does not lead to self-praise.

Actually Paul has said that the ones who measure themselves among themselves are not wise (2Corinthians 10:12). You don’t stand and seek to derive your self-esteem from how you are better than someone else. We should only measure ourselves by the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1), not by human measurement. The bible says we should not judge according to sight, but judge righteous judgement (John 7:23).

What is the mission of God for your life? To what percentage have you measured up to them? A candid answer to that will reveal that we are still very far from the full measure of Christ in our lives (Ephesians 4:13). We should not attempt to lift ourselves up because then we would “tempt” God to pull us down, since he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1Peter 5:5).

We should not seek other people to “worship” us. That is the way of the Pharisees. They carry out spiritual activities to be noticed by men. But Jesus said that they have received their reward (Matthew 6:5, 23:1-7), which is not going to come from God, they sought to make an impression on God and have therefore achieve their aims.

That is why Jesus called them white-washed sepulchre, with the outside as sparkling clean as can be but inside is full of dead men bones (Matthew 23:25-28). God told Prophet Samuel that he looks at the inside while men look at the outside (1Samuel 16:7), and that declaration is still valid till today. So if you are like the Pharisee, you will be so concerned about earning the praise of men (and if it is not coming forth you’ll do it yourself). This is in an attempt to draw attention to yourself, while neglecting the hidden things of the heart. Your life will be about talking about doing but not actually doing the will of God, because you seek to create an impression only, the real thing is too hard. We need to be careful that we do not receive promotion from men in the church because of our political instinct.

A politician is obligated to work things out, push himself forward. That is the way of the world, the way of the gentiles. But Jesus said that the one that would be first among you shall be your servant. Think about that (Mark 10:42-45). A servant does not have creating an impression in mind, but to only get the task at hand done.

Also, a politician comes forward and speaks against his opponent, because they seek the approval of men, they need to do something to undermine the approval rating of the opponents.

That was why the opposition to the ministry of Jesus was fierce and you see the Pharisees mounting ridiculous reasoning against his ministry (John 9:16). Because to the Pharisees, it’s all about the position, and they approach it with a political mind-set, it is all about who is my rival in getting the attention and devotion of the people? Who’s becoming more popular than me; who draws more crowd than me, who is gaining more prestige than me? I have to cut them down.

It is obvious that the Pharisees were operating by a political spirit, from the words of their mouth. When they were concluding that killing Jesus was the best line of action for them because of his popularity, they gave the real reason for planning to murder him: lest the Romans come and take our place away (John 11:47-48). They had a “place” and they “defended” it by committing murder.

Jesus Christ took his time to tell his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisee which is hypocrisy (Luke 12-1-2). A man bent on self-praise will be hypocritical, while the one who seeks the praise that comes from God will be ever-growing.

 

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