Thursday, December 1, 2011

Busy Collecting Praise



Jesus once asked, "How can you trust? You're busy collecting praise from each other, instead of seeking praise from God only." (John 5:44)

Right before He asked the question, He stated, "I don't collect praise from men, but I do know you people- I know that you have no love for God in you! (John 5:41-42)

Many in our day would read these words and exclaim, "That's not Christlike; it's unkind."

Ummm...

well...

uh,...it's a quote from His lips.

We've got to remember, we are needy! We won't change for the better if we are never confronted, never contradicted, never questioned. Thank God, He doesn't just seek to make us feel good about ourselves! He loves us enough to say, "Wait. a. minute. You need My help."

Our culture is plagued with the love of affirmation. We feel valuable when people praise us. We have always had this drive to be praised by others, but modern social networking has upped the ante, and we can literally feast every moment of the day, as people--those we don't even know--feed our craving.

Don't get me wrong, I'm just as human as the rest of the world. I like it too. I've just recognized it can become addictive like anything else these human bodies desire. I'm seeking to bring the hunger under the mind of Christ for I see it can destroy even my recognition of a need for God's praise or affirmation.

When Jesus asked, "How can you trust?", He points to the fact that when our emotional tanks are filled with the praise of other people, we can be blinded to our need for God's approval, our need to be in a trusting relationship with Him.

How do we do bring these cravings or desires under the mind of Christ?

We must never stop asking ourselves questions. Why am I doing what I am doing? What is my motive for this? Who am I seeking to please? Does this conflict with Christlike values? Am I being controlled by the praise I receive from others? Am I devoted to please God above all else?

As I honestly seek to understand myself and compare what I am doing--which tells me what I am valuing--to what Jesus taught is valuable, I pray for His help and embrace His perspective. I reject the praise of men as the foundation for my worth, and I make choices that reflect my value of His opinion over all else.

I am grateful when others think kindly of me, but I must not let their praise control my decisions.

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