I have a fear of praise.
There, I said it. It sounds a bit strange, that what I crave most is what I also fear. I guess it's because I know in the past when I've received too much praise. I've let it go to my head. Like I'm 'all that.' Like I accomplished it all on my own, tip-toeing myself to the top of a high pedestal where I teetered and tottered, fearing the long fall.
Praise will test your character.
Like a finicky woman at the market seeking the perfect piece of fruit. She inspects each one, only wanting the best. She is not looking to judge, just wanting the sweetness of the best harvest; the juice of the ripe and good. So what kind of juice will flow when you are squeezed... when I am squeezed?
Will it be virtue or vanity?
Maybe you're a person who simply hears praise and feels good for the moment, letting the words fall in their proper place. That is wholesome and good, because It's not wrong to enjoy praise. Words of affirmation are often how others give and receive love.
But if we grasp them and hold them too tightly, clinging to them as our identity, they ferment into pride... ruining the harvest of our good works.
Where then, does praise belong?
What is the proper balance, and how do we find it?
This is the best example I've found...
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me."
John 8:54 NIV
Jesus, of all humans, was the only one who could have handled all the praise. And yet, He handed all of His over to the Father God in heaven. He let God get the glory for whatever people praised Him for on earth... He passed it on... He pointed heavenward.
Praise is to be pointed.
So if I follow Jesus example, I shouldn't fear praise. Because I'm not going to hold onto it. I'm going to receive it with open hands and then lift that same praise, immediately to God... letting it go.
But it'll have to be practiced.
It'll have to be intentional.
It'll have to be habitual.
If I am going to overcome my prideful ways and push past my fear of falling, I will have to set my mind that in all things I do which receive praise, I will immediately and openly give it to God. My life for His glory.
Isn't that what He's wanted all along?
Isn't that why He put light into me in the first place?
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 NIV
Thank You, Lord for the test.
Thank You, Lord for the answer.
Help me, Lord in the future...
give ALL praise and glory unto YOU!
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