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Praise or Flattery!

Updated on September 6, 2014

Qualify Praise and Disqualify Flattery

What is the difference between praise and flattery?

Praise is adoration rendered because you deem the one true God worthy of your affection. The praise you render, you are also ready to let Him know it and sound it abroad and attribute it only to Him. Why? Because in your heart of hearts you believe that He is worth the emotions, time, effort and all the words of adoration that you can think of and that these words are true. Flattery has the backdrop of deceit. It is generally something done to receive something which implies manipulation.

The thing about praise is that if we took up all the words in the dictionaries or concordances which mean something great, we still will not find a word that could adequately express the majesty and magnificence of the Creator of the universe. We are somehow satisfied with Hallelujah, being the highest form of praise because it is applicable for us as individuals. Praise ye the Lord. You praise Him for yourself.

To flatter is to praise excessively especially from motives of self-interest. it is to beguile, to compliment excessively and often insincerely, especially in order to win favor. Favor for believers in Christ is summed up in one word "GRACE" we have already been given unmerited favor and have no reason to manipulate favor. Nevertheless flattery is a real live attitude. Flattery is the act of flattering. It is of flattering compliment or speech; excessive, insincere praise. It is the act or practice of flattering for the pleasing of one's self .

Sincerest definition of praise is free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; earnest: a sincere heart. What Is the sincerest form of flattery? There is no sincere form of flattery, but there is sincere praise from a clean heart. King David helps us in seeing this truth as he prays.....create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. When you flatter someone, you use praise and compliment him or her — but you aren't totally sincere.

Why do we praise God? You will have to answer that for yourself. Praise is a directive from Scripture. Psalm 150:6, encourages us to take it personally, let everything that has breath praise the Lord, Praise ye the Lord. I praise God because I deem, think, believe and esteem Him worthy of all praise. My value system has been affected by His greatness. It is personal, we all have our own reasons for praising God, wherewith we can qualify the reason. Qualify them, because it must be determined if our praise is a fragrance or an odor.

We praise God because we place value on His worth. These values we hold grant us the ability to add to our value system which is being built based on the revelation knowledge of who God is. We were created to worship and adore our Creator. We should all be on the same page as to why we honor God with the fruits of our lips in praise to Him. It is worth qualifying in my own heart and soul as to, why do I praise God? Because the unexamined life isn't worth living. I hope and pray it is worth qualifying in your heart and soul, so that we know the difference between praise and flattery when we enter His gates with thanksgiving and go into His courts with praise.

I found this beautiful prayer on the web. It adds clarity to why we praise God.

PRAYER: O Lord, you are great, and therefore worthy of great praise. The more I recognize your greatness, the more I am drawn to extol you. The more I receive your great grace, the more I am eager to offer you my thanks. The more I know how much you love me, the more I am able to love you in return.

O Lord, though in worshiping you I receive so very much, may my first intention always be to give you the praise you deserve. May worship be a place for me to offer you all that I am. You deserve this, and so much more! Amen

The psalmist declared in Psalm 45:1, My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. The psalms are so beautiful you can smell the sweet fragrance from the heart of praise. Being a writer this verse is powerful. As a writer I am always looking for a good matter to write about concerning the King of Kings. Yet to be enabled to live the reality of my tongue performing what my pen does is extraordinary. As quickly as I can write, I can also praise the Lord with my mouth too.

King David has greatly helped in providing us with his life songs and praises, he is truly a worship leader and his spirit is actively leading us into praise and we learn how to praise God as a result. His life is based on a collection and celebration of good things which he chose to declare concerning God. These praises are based on his own life experiences. We have been given our own experiences in life in which we are acquiring and shall acquire a deeper and profounder manner to praise God. Praise of God is also a decision that only we can make as individuals and collectively, because we have made a value judgment that God is worth speaking greatly towards and about. If we choose flattery over praise we are making a value judgment and we are saying that we will only praise Him for what He can offer us, and we will be judged by the value we place on which ever decision we make.

Attitude and Approach are Critical

A good attitude leads to gratitude and creates beatitudes, the beatitudes teach us what our attitudes should be (Be Attitudes). In our approach to praise we also learn through the volume of the book all kinds of praises and how they were made through adversity and peace. The Scriptures provide us with structure and make us creatures of substance, who operate according to a higher standard set by the holiness of God. Praise is a high and holy calling. The holiness of God provides us with good posture and sweet fragrances. When we see that He is high and lifted up, we can see His holiness. Holiness is a sweet fragrance which perfumes the atmosphere we enter to praise Him. Our lives are tempered together with the Holy Spirit who saturates us and we can move towards the throne and worship in the spirit of holiness, through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.

The Father inhabits the praises of His children. We go into our secret places and lock our selves into our relationships with Him, and lock everything else out. Prior to our ascent we must examine ourselves so that we are free from odors which can contaminate and pollute our praises. Repent even if you don't think you have consciously done anything to offend a holy God, because you cannot trust your sub-conscious and unaware self where iniquities hide, only when we hide the Word in our hearts can we trust our hearts. Jeremiah made a discovery in 17:9, he states, the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? This a valid question because only God knows the heart. He knows why we are really praising Him and wants us to discern between a fragrance and odor.

See praising God as a journey you take and your destination as a place where holiness is reigning supreme. Holy, Holy, Holy is the song the Angels sing without end. Don't you want to join in this crescendo of praises as you ascend unto the throne of grace. Grace and mercy meets us at the door which opens the gates to enter in with thanksgivings for all things and in all things. We ascend into the courts with praise and we worship the Most High God and flattery is a no show. We must always value and remember that He is a holy God. Put on our best garments, the best royal array is a repentant heart for any offensive way within us.

The attitude of heart is so essential and determines whether what comes out of our mouths is odorous or fragrant. If I regard iniquity in my heart and speak or sing praises without repenting and asking forgiveness it creates a stench the equivalent of bad breath. The basin of laver before prayer, praise and worship is really a good idea. I must examine myself and ask myself questions such as have I been speaking unkindly about anyone? Discerning what produces bad breath and odor filled words, so that cleansing through the blood, the Word and the Spirit will be able to freshen and cleanse the words spoken through prayer.

The Fire of the Holy Ghost is Purging

I can understand and identify with the Prophet Isaiah's vision in Chapter 6. As he visualized the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up and His holiness filling the temple. Can you see the Lord that way? In the vision the prophet saw seraphims which covered their face and feet with their wings. We cover our flesh through the blood. We hide behind the cross and are transported into the spirit realm.

Can you imagine being so honest with yourself to the point of perceiving your lips to be unclean and admitting that you have unclean lips, and you dwell with people of unclean lips. This is what the Prophet Isaiah did in his vision when He saw the King, the Lord of hosts. (Isaiah 6) The story goes on to tell us that one of the seraphims had a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs off the altar; and laid it upon the prophet's mouth and told him that by the coal touching his lips that his iniquity was taken away, and his sin purged. Can you see what was deemed necessary for unclean lips, of course this is a spiritual implication. Burning coals on natural lips would burn the mouth out of its place. The figurative relays the point very well and it is interpreted spiritually. Put away a forward mouth and poor and ill words that produce odors.

Do you realize or are you aware of the journey you are taking when you pray and praise and where you are going? Into the presence of a holy God. Faith is our propeller to the throne of God spiritually. As a matter of fact, we don't go anywhere in this life without consciously washing and bathing to face the day. Why isn't going to the throne room and entering God's presence purged as important as everyday physical rote?

How come we don't hear King David's plea? If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Why? Because iniquities are full of odors and pollutants. When the King cries out search me, O God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, he knows himself well enough to come in his own integrity before God. He knew he needed a cleanser, just as the prophet Isaiah knew that coals out of the fire would purge his lips from uncleanness figuratively.

Motives help to define whether praise is sincere or insincere, pure or impure, truth or a lie. The conscience empowered by the Spirit of God knows the truth. When we examine and judge ourselves we escape producing the fruit of our lips that is not pure. Whereas, flattery or to flatter someone is manipulative. To manipulate is an act of ill will, and to praise is founded upon good will. Manipulative flattery is influencing or attempting to influence the behavior or emotions of others for one’s own purposes. That's not a reason for praising God, it infers that we have the wrong intentions, and our motives are wrong. Only we as individuals can ascertain why we praise Him and for what purpose and if we have pure motives. Why do you praise God and for what purpose? Plain talk, flattery is an odor and praise from a clean heart is a fragrance.

Intentions are just as important. What are my intentions for praising God, and do I have an ulterior motive. The wrong intentions pave the path to iniquity in the heart. Intentional praise based on our esteem of God's worth navigates us into praise and worship. Not trusting ourselves apart from repentance is a wise emphatic. I generally repent for all that I've said, done, acted, felt, thought, and every intent, motive and desire that is not pleasing in the Father's sight. As I remind myself that His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts my thoughts and that His are higher. My desire is to align my life with His ways and thoughts, but I realize that I have not arrived as I ask for forgiveness for not respecting all boundaries and trespassing against Him. There is nothing in me that I trust apart from the blood that cleanses and remits me from sin. I never want to get that comfortable or familiar that I disregard and disrespect established boundaries set in motion. To go pass the blood and not acknowledge the blood is to trespass.

An Apothecary in the Old Testament was called a perfumer and he mixed fragrances. Today the Holy Spirit is the perfumer. There are certain fragrances that holiness sprays upon our lives so that we can be a sweet smelling fragrance in God's presence. I love perfumes and fresh fragrances naturally speaking. Now I am being given the opportunity to contrast an odor from a fragrance spiritually and soul wise. Are the aspects of my soul producing stinking thinking? Can you smell a thought? Of course you can smell thinking if your conscience is up and running properly; and if you are willing to walk in integrity and let it guide you to ensure that the Word of God cleanses every aspect of the soul to empower the experiential reality of the renewal process.

Conformity into the likeness of Jesus Christ is changing into His character. His character produces fragrances that happen as a result of being washed by the Word and Spirit of God. The Word of God is like soap it washes away the potential to stink. The Holy Spirit is the holiest of water to rinse all the soil away.

God has values, and characteristics which inform us concerning His nature. We come to love His nature and attributes more than the ones we have, as we are illuminated and begin to conform into His image and likeness, then we have a basis to love ourselves. But we should love everything about God more than we could ever love ourselves because He is worthy. I treasure and esteem God to be worth saying all the good and pure things that I can think, feel and ascertain to articulate to Him and when talking to anyone and everyone about Him.

Philippians 4:8, is a directive and counsels greatly, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and whatsoevers things are of a good report; and if there be any virtue and praise think on these things. Sounds like worship of God is due to me, how about you? My desire is that we will see the journey we take to enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and then proceed into His courts with praise. Don't ask for anything in these places (gates and courts) just thank and praise Him. Ask for everything in all kinds of prayers and intercessions. Let praise and worship stand alone! Understanding shifts us and all the movements we make.

I was listening to a teaching entitled framework versus message. Framework being the structure, outline, basis, and context which forms the foundation by which we should be operating; framework being the Scriptures in totality from Genesis to Revelation. Framework will frame who you are in Christ Jesus. Can you see your life in a frame as you portray God? We don't fully understand praise because Scripture tells us that we know it in part, but we have a foundation and structure.

We as human beings have in our travels received what are call compliments. We didn’t attribute or equate them to praise. I have received countless compliments in my life, and while on this life's journey, yet the term praise has never crossed my mind as being the premise or intention of compliments. People have told me good things concerning how they saw me throughout this lifespan, yet it never has registered as praise, but as compliments.

Even when we were sinners praise seemed to have mysteriously been a terminology exclusively just for God. I find it interesting that no one who has ever given me compliments has ever once said, I praise you nor was I looking for it. It is as if the journey from sinner to saint held mysteries that can not be understood and there were boundaries you just didn't cross. In the sinful state we could differentiate and comprehend that the term “praise” was exclusive and it was as if humanity intuitively knew that praise and the use of the word belonged to the Creator alone. How about you in your journey, has anyone ever said to you I praise you? Quite an observation, huh! It is as though our humanness even knew praise is for God and Him alone and don’t even desire to utter the term to or concerning any human being. Yet this is my take on this issue as it pertains to my journey.

The Apostle Paul ran into this contrary spirit in Romans 1:25, he stated that the truth of God was changed into a lie by the creature and they worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator who is blessed forever. Nevertheless, compliments do suffice for humanness providing they are not for the purpose of worshipping a creature, which is idolatry, nor flattery, but are genuine. There is nothing wrong with finding good things in others and expressing it to them, it is called encouragement. Worship was only designed and fashioned for the Creator. It is impossible not to have wonderful thoughts and feelings about Him every single day and night.

It is not a coincidence that the term praise is an exclusive word. The exclusivity of the term only collides when we use it to praise ourselves or others. Should we have praise for ourselves or should we nullify that attempt for another applicable term regarding ourselves understanding and knowing that praise belongs only to Creator God. We don't worship each other but when we appreciate each other, therefore, we can always find kind and good thoughts and words to speak.

King David declared that he was fearfully and wonderfully made, he recognized what God had done through Him and adds marvelous are thy works and my soul now understands and knows it right well. This insight produced a confidence towards God and not praise of himself, he made his boast in God. There is validity in finding your worth in and through God which can’t otherwise be uttered or deemed as anything but self-worth accordingly to one’s own estimation of themselves. Most of the king's worship and praise sprang from fountains and wells of goodness.

The king did not seek to flatter God with insincerity, he purposed in his heart to sincerely praise God with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength. He had a full rich life and had no reason to choose flattery over praise. The sincere heart only knows praise.

A defining moment came to me recently concerning praise and prayer. During praise we ask nothing from God, we just praise Him because of who He is and for all of His greatness. We magnify, exalt and extol Him. In prayer is where we ask for things, not in praise. How about praising to receive something? Or praising Him just to receive something we desire or want? Doesn’t that sound like flattery?

My earnest desire is to praise Him because He is worth all the praise I can render from my heart and soul. We always declare “You are worthy of all honor, glory and praise”. That means we have validated and qualified why we praise Him, “Because He is worthy to receive it”.


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    • mabelhenry profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Harrisburlg, Pennsylvania

      Praise Jesus, "Dana" The thing about writing is that it is inspired from a deep place of our experiences and in the process we find things about and in ourselves, that we see under the microscope of the Word of God and we are being healed as we express what we behold in hope that it can be an ointment in healing others. You mentioned an intentional motive. That is what I meant by sub-conscious and unconscious, these things which are hidden until the Holy Spirit shines the light of truth and we come out of the hiding place and we face the truth about ourselves and we are healed. Thanks for sharing and being honest. It is always a pleasure to communication with you. You are blessed and you are a blessing and thank you for your encouragement and kind words. Have a great week!

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      4 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      You did a great job on this hub distinguishing between flattery and praise. Praise is true worship that comes from the heart. Unfortunately some people do not realize we worship a God who examines our true motives. I speak for myself when I say my poem "The heart of a woman" was generated when I realized a prayer of mine was not being granted because not only was it selfishly motivated but specific words were used to flatter. Of course this was unintentional but as you say we truly do not understand what lies in our heart. Due to my own writing I was forced to go back and examine my heart and immediately went into repentance. But my eyes were opened as I truly understood how awesome our Creator is. How He understands our true motives and knows the deepest desires in our heart even when we don't. Excellent article. Thanks for sharing.


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