Today’s word for April 27, 2011

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but people are tested by their praise.
Proverbs 27:21

Recently we discussed a proverb similar to the one we are discussing today which says that man’s heart is proven by God. Today’s proverb takes a look at one aspect of this test which is humility. We could define humility as the ability to receive praise without being influenced by it. Our sinful nature is full of pride and therefore, when we are subjected to praise; our vanity takes control of our lives making us walk the wrong paths which takes us away from God’s purpose for us. The enemy knows this ─it was because of his unbridled pride that he lost his privileged position as guardian cherub─ and he uses praise, or rather, hypocritical flattery to entice our hearts. Even when Satan tempted the Lord Jesus in the desert he used this strategy, using flattery as a weapon based on the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. If the enemy is so bold as to use this weapon against him who truly deserves all the praise, how much more he will use it against us whom we have nothing to be praised for, since all we are, all we have or all we do we owe it to God our Creator and Lord.

Let us be careful, then, when someone comes to us with praise and adulation that our heart does not fail the test and that we do not stumble and fall. Praise is not always offered with sincerity and instead it can become a dangerous trap aimed at pleasing our natural need for recognition. Thank God that gives us the ability to discern the purpose of the praise we receive. To God alone be the glory!

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