Warning: The Dark Side of Human Praise
Honor is one of the most wonderful gifts that a human being can receive. All people long to be praised for who they are as well as the things they do and say. Even simple compliments make us feel worthy. So honor and praise are good things in terms of lifting up a person’s spirits and making them feel special for accomplishments and milestones within their lives. However, there is a dark side to human honor if it is not directly back to the source from which it came.
The Person who is highly esteemed among people is an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15)
We Praise People for What?
People are praised for many things, including what they say, what they own, what they have accomplished in life.
What they say
Brilliant speeches, entertaining skits and great songs captivate the mind of the audience in theaters, broad way shows and on the pull pit of the local as well as the mega-church. Because of the charm of what we say, we become gods in the eyes of those who have forgotten about who they are in the world. They worship us and believe that we are incapable of error.
What they own
People will praise us for their nice homes, automobiles, and for their charm and talents that they may share with the world. They may be famous basketball players, football icons or members of popular baseball players who attract tens of thousands of fans every week. To their fans, they are idols. People appear to worship them more than God.
What they have accomplished
Achieving a well-deserved milestone in life such as a distinguished college degree, a popular promotion or winning a great talent show will bring massive praise and honor from the public. People who rise to the top are in demand. Turning around a fledging business or transforming a neighborhood, community or a nation are great feats that are deserving of praise and honor. There is nothing wrong with any of these magnificent moments of glory.
The problem comes when people receive such glory without acknowledging its origin: God. God created man in order to reveal His glory on the earth. His glory is the great things that He allows mankind to do. Without God man can do nothing. The ignorance of this great fact puts people in conflict with the God of creation.
Stealing God’s glory is accepting praise, honor and recognition for all our good without acknowledging that our good only occurred due to Gods’ grace operating within our being. When people refuse to acknowledge God for their good, their blessing becomes a curse to them. Stealing God’s glory creates pride, promotes idolatry, makes us dependent on others and binds the potential in others.
The consequences of Misdirected Praise
Pride is a dangerous state of mind. The person exacts himself against the knowledge of God by declaring himself to be the source of his own good. He gladly accepts praise and honor from man without revealing God as the origin of his expression. So consequences follow. Scripture states that “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Many great people, including prominent actors and musicians, suffer from depression, loneliness, drugs, alcohol, and many relationships problems. The destructiveness of pride brings a continual downfall.
When people refuse to acknowledge God as the source of their accomplishments, gifts and talents, they make themselves idols in the minds of those who praise them. Tens of thousands of people attend concerts of famous musicians they admire. People idolize them year after year and desire to become like them. When people make you an idol you compete against God. Scripture states that “a person who is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the eyes of God.” This is because God deserves praise more than any man. God alone, the creator of all mankind, deserve to be praised from here to eternity.
Co-dependent on Others for Approval
Refusing to acknowledge God as the source of our good, makes us turn toward people for validation of our worth. We become uncertain. We worry whether or not people will accept us the next time we get on stage or the next time we perform a new project. This uneasiness can lead us to turn to the false comfort of drugs. Many musicians enter the stage high on some kind of relaxing drug. This helps them cope with the reaction of the crowd. But when we acknowledge God for our good, we don’t look unto others for personal approval. We know that God is in charge and it is only by his grace that we are blessed.
Blinding the Masses to their Own Potential
The word of God tells us not to Glory in man because God has already given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. God has placed greatness within them already. Therefore, when others worship us without seeing God as the source of our talents, gifts and accomplishments, they forget about the gifts and talents within them. One of the reasons God wants us to acknowledge Him as the source of our
Giving God the Glory
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good is to let others know that they possess unique potential that God wants to manifest in their lives. People worship other people to a point of obsession. Consider the tens of thousands who flock to concerts and sports arenas to see their favorite icons. To the masses these icons seem to have it all together but behind the scenes are revelations of drugs use, physical abuse and other scandals. We find out that these icons are far from perfect.
Therefore, believers must always acknowledge that their goodness, fame or fortune came from God only and they must encourage others to seek their own God-given potential. Helping others to see their own potential is allowing them to understand that God desires to bring fourth the greatness within them as well.
As we can see, accepting honor and praise from men without acknowledging God may lead to many inward and outward traps. Escaping these traps begins by redirecting the praise of man back to God. God is the source of all good. Jesus Christ refused to accept praise from man. When the phrases called him good, he said” there is none good but God. Whatever good in me comes from God.” Jesus wasn’t the only divine figure that turned away the praise of man. Many of the prophets and apostles refuse to become idols by stealing the glory of God for their own esteem.
Freedom, joy and abundance come to those who acknowledge God as their source of good. They are able to enjoy sharing their accomplishments, gifts and talents with others.
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