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! 🙂