One Day at a Time Devotional
Everyone loves to be encouraged! We each value the reassurance when a job is done well. The confidence that arrives when a loved one, a boss, or a friend offers words of praise is invigorating. However, it can be quite overwhelming when someone is praising themselves. It is often understood to manifest from a prideful or arrogant attitude.
Of course, this is not always the case, but is normally taken as such. Some of us may struggle with a lack of confidence and just need a little push or encouragement to help us, thus resulting in a desire to have words of affirmation.
God in all of His wisdom knew that you and I would need and value praise – words of encouragement. He also knew that in our pride, we would praise ourselves. So, in Proverbs 27:2 God gives us a guideline to live by, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”
Now why would God want us to hold our tongues when it comes to boasting to others about our talents, strengths, or accomplishments? The answer, pride. Pride is the very sin that cast Satan out of Heaven spoken of in Isaiah fourteen and pride is the same sin that separates us from God as well.
To be clear, I am not saying that we cannot and should not share our strengths and talents with others, on our resumes, or use them in God’s church, but I am saying that our hearts should not share these if it is our motive and desire to make ourselves look good in the sight of man. Our gifts and talents come from the Lord and are not of ourselves.
It is God Who created you and God Who gives you breath, health, and life. He can take any of these from you in the blink of an eye. It was God Who caused Miriam to become leprous when she criticized, along with Aaron, her brother Moses, the preacher, and his wife in Numbers twelve, “And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it.”
Miriam, because she disagreed with Moses’ marriage, lifted herself up in pride and decided that her talents and her strengths were just as good or better than the preacher’s. In essence, she took on the same characteristics of Satan spoken of in Isaiah fourteen and because of her pride God took her health.
In my nearly nineteen years of serving God I have seen women within the church become prideful and boastful about their appearance just before committing adultery. I have had others with a prideful heart start attending church, possessing great talents within their families and believing that they are the answer to the ministry only to compromise biblical principles and leave because they did not receive the attention they felt they deserved. I have had others poor on compliments and expensive gifts to lift themselves up in the opinion of a Pastor, his wife or another only to turn and criticize the very people whose attention they were trying to receive because things did not go their way.
Others boast themselves of great abilities and intelligence through good works and comparison like Martha in Luke 10:40, but have forgotten the most important part of sitting at Jesus’ feet like Mary in the same chapter. Others, young and old, boast themselves of life’s experiences and accomplishments and remain unteachable because they know it all already.
This same attitude causes others to continuously correct and point out the seemingly apparent flaws and mistakes that church leadership has or others around them possess, but are never willing to receive the same correction themselves. In addition, you cannot get a word in because they are there to teach you, not the other way around. I have others come and cry on my shoulder about the same problem or offense over and over again so that they may receive special attention from me or that I may take their side in a matter.
Please don’t misunderstand, I am not speaking of a lack of compassion on my part, I am saying that some have real sin in their lives that they refuse to give up (some for ten years plus) and when they reap the consequences of that sin, they approach me so that I may be a sounding board due to their pride and lack of character resulting in no real victory. On a lighter note, I have others boast about how healthy their teeth were while their bodies were in total disrepair due to negligence.
God’s admonishment to each of you, myself included, is to follow James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” If it is our desire to give God the praise, to use our gifts and talents for His work and to have a humble heart and mind, God will lift us up. God is more concerned with our hearts and the motives stemming from our hearts than He is with all the gifts and talents we possess. He wants us to be humble and teachable while giving Him the praise and glory. This life is not about us and our accomplishments, but is about serving God to the best of our abilities while pointing others to Christ.
So, if we are not to praise ourselves and let another praise us, how are we to respond to that praise? Simple! Respond with a “Thank you” only and or “I am thankful God could use me this way.”
What if you are one of those who are full of pride, are competitive, or must be the center of attention, how should you respond? You should realize that everyone is gifted and talented in one way or the other and a truly humble person will regard others more favorably than themselves just as Philippians 2:3 states,“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
If we each put aside our pride and the desire to compete with one another in an unhealthy way, we can unify the church and reach the lost more effectively by being of the same mind in love just as Christ, our example, was in Philippians 2: 4-9, Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:”
It has been stated “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” God will bless a humble and contrite heart as you seek to give Him the praise and get over yourself!
& One Day at a Time Devotional,
a ministry of Riverview Baptist Church