Responding to Praise for the Glory of God

You, my readers, are wise people.  If you have any insight on the following discussion, I would very much appreciate your contribution. 🙂

According to Romans 11:35-36, God is all-sovereign, all-supreme, and and deserves all praise.  I’ve been reflecting on this idea a lot lately.  If God deserves all the praise that everyone on this planet could offer to Him, it means that we don’t deserve any of it. It means that we are robbing God every time we take credit for ourselves.  It means that if we truly desire to glorify God, we need to stop taking what rightfully belongs to God.

God has gifted each of us uniquely, and we’re called to use our talents for His glory, because they all come from Him (Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17…For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? – 1 Corinthians 4:7).

The problem is that people are naturally disposed to look at us, to praise us, when they see our talents.  This is true even when we’re displaying our talents for God and His glory alone.  This reality isn’t necessarily bad; it can be a very healthy opportunity. How we respond to praise will glorify God or not.  If we don’t say something when we’re praised, we will rob God of His glory by our silence.  If we say something when we’re praised, we could rob God of His glory if we don’t say the right thing.  So what’s the “right thing”?  I’m tired of simply nodding awkwardly, or saying a quiet “thank you” while groping unsuccessfully for God-glorifying words.  People will not benefit from praising me, because I cannot give them all-satisfying joy.  Everlasting joy is found only in glorifying Jesus Christ for who He is and how He works in our lives.  So I need to know how to react to praise, for the glory of God, my joy and the joy of others.

Humility ought to be a lifetime, moment-by-moment endeavor.  If we’re not naturally humble, our feeble attempts to deflect praise to Jesus will be seen as egotistical and self-serving.  That will defeat the purpose.  How do we live so that Jesus increases while we decrease (John 3:30) all of the time?  How do we display our talents and live our everyday lives in such a way that others see only Christ?  How do we be who God has made us to without advancing our own agenda?

Huge realities like the glory of God, my joy, and the joy of others hangs in the balance.  It’s important to wrestle through these issues!  If you have any strategies on how you seek to deflect praise to God for His glory, and/or how you seek to live humble, authentic, God-centered lives for His glory, feel free to comment! 🙂

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About Joe Eaton

I praise God that my standing before Him has nothing to do with who I am or what I've done; it is found solely in the perfect life that Christ lived in my place, and His which atoned for my sin. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God"..."There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

6 responses to “Responding to Praise for the Glory of God”

  1. Daniel Schmitter says :

    I am just about positive that God deserves all praise (like you said), but the verses I find confuse me. In John 5:44 Jesus says, “How can you Believe, when you recieve glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” It’s not vary clear what “glory that comes from the only God” is. James 4:10 and 1 Peter 5:6 say somtning like, “[God will] exalt you.” I think all these could just mean: Seek the joy found in God and He will exalt you so you can exult in Him for His glory. Or somthing like that.
    Your statement “People will not benefit from praising me, because I cannot give them all-satisfying joy” is words to somthing I’ve been thinking about, too. It’s a good point.
    As far as when people praise me, I’ve found (you may have too) that it’s helpful to simply say, “I thank God for (moving, or working this) in me.”

    • cthruthematrix says :

      Joe,

      Like you said, God deserves all the glory we can possible give and turn towards Him. However, I’m not totally sure that for us to receive glory is inherently “not good”. I haven’t really thought about it much, but I was reading in Romans today and stumbled upon this verse…

      “…those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also *glorified*.” -Romans 8:30

      Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and struggles with us… I really enjoy reading them. =)

  2. susy says :

    Hey Joe,

    This a rare thing that most believer never even consider.

    I know there are probably many, many, many facets to this and for each person it is going to look different as our God is not a ‘cookie cutter’ God, each of us unique with different gifts. Some gifts are more ‘out in front’ some are more ‘behind the scenes’. But it really comes done to being humble 24/7 in our thought life. It is very difficult to be humble ‘on the spot’. It has to be something we cultivate in our inner being in the little moments in life that nobody sees.

    On the flip side, I know I feel awkward at times when I feel a deep appreciation for a ‘Gift’ I see or enjoy in a brother or sister in Christ. What do I say? How do I show appreciation? I want to give Glory to God too, on this side of it. What I have come to realize is that any Gift one of my Siblings in Christ might have is from God…BUT that Gift would never come to Shine for Him if that person hadn’t given and submitted their lives and talents to Him. So I can not thank them for ‘their Gift’ as it is and never was theirs to start with. But thank them for denying self and letting God use them. True spiritual gifts that show the character of Christ come with a price to the one who bares it. IF there isn’t a cost in that persons life, then it is just fleshly talent that hasn’t been purified for God’s use. ALL flesh; physical, emotional, intellect, talent…etc…ALL has to be sifted through a purification proccess of the Spirit to bear His Fruit.

    Anyway, those are the thoughts that come to my mind and have been helpful to me. And by the way, don’t concern yourself with feeling awkward, much rather see that and know someone is ‘uncomfortable’ wanting God to get the Glory ;o) I think most of us have been there and understand totally!

    And I think we can on the other end, when blessed by God’s Gifts in others maybe let that one know we are Thankful for their lives and that they are a clean vessel for the Master Use. Or something like that???? Or not say anything at all…let a quite prayer of Praise raise from our hearts to Him and ask Him to bless that one in a special way.

    This verse just came to mind, showing how Paul expressed greatfullness for Gifts…that our Gifts are for the Church, to prepare Her for the return of Christ :O)

    ~I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Christ. Through Him, God had enriched your Church in every way-with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ was true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 4-7

    Well better go…Have a Sweet Day in Him,
    susy

  3. JoAnn says :

    Joe..While it is true that humility is required of us, I find that most people struggle with intertwined problems of a feeling of deep insecurity (perhaps because they are not assured of their worthiness and perfection in Christ)and a need to be declared worthy in the eyes of those around them. Hence, the call to build one another up. Good posts, Joe. You are wrestling with great and deep truths of the Bible.

  4. Joe says :

    I should reply to/clarify(?) a few things.

    1) Daniel – I have to admit that I am not sure what those verses are talking about exactly either (anyone else?). I think it means that if God exalts us in any way, it’s NOT to make US look good, but to highlight what we’ve done that makes HIM look good to the world.

    2) Seth – I see your point, except that those verses from Romans 8 aren’t talking about God glorifying us = making us look good. Here, “glorified” means that God, who justifies us, will also bring our bodies to final “glorification” when we see Jesus face-to-face. In the context of Romans 8 (read it…good stuff!) that idea flows well.

    3) Mrs. Olive – I would take a slightly different approach. One cannot simply thank a person for allowing them to be used of God, since that too is a work of God. This is a dynamic that I did not even discuss: how does the “praiser” give glory to God? Even then, there must be special consideration, because we can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5).

    4) Aunt J 🙂 – In my mind (maybe you can clarify) that issue is slightly beside the point. I agree that building others up must be a continuous reality (Eph. 4:29). The question is, how do YOU respond when a brother or sister in Christ builds YOU up? Even when they speak truth, such as the glory of our salvation in Christ, we must find a way to acknowledge that this is not of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-10) so that God will get the glory He rightfully deserves.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts…they’re helping me to think more rightly about this issue! 🙂

  5. Rebe says :

    oh my goodness: KEEP SPEAKING THE TRUTH. that’s so true, and so amazing. keep on going with that. the Lord has really blessed you with words and encouraging words. keep blogging!!!
    ~rebs

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