Monday, November 7, 2011

A test of our character……

“The crucible is for refining silver and the smelter for gold,
but a person is tested by the praise given to him”.    Prov. 27:21 GW

I think praise is important when given with the right motive.   We all need encouragement and even affirmation.   A timely “praise” is so uplifting to our spirit.   But as important as it is, praise can be a two-edge sword.

The crucible is the mechanism through which silver is refined and prepared, where the application of extreme heat forces the impurities to rise to the top.   The furnace serves the same purpose for gold.  Scripture says that we are tested in the furnace by the praise we receive.

Praise will test our character by bringing out the truth in how we see ourselves.

How we receive praise bears witness to how we really assess our own self-worth and more importantly, from where we derive our worth.   On one hand, we can receive praise as affirmation.   

If we know that we have worth because we have been adopted by the King, we understand that nothing we can ever do will increase or decrease our worth.   We are able to take praise at face value and enjoy the affirmation for a job well done.

On the other hand, we can receive praise as approval.   Rather than hearing, “The work you did is good,” we hear the words, “You are good” and “I approve of you”.  The actual words of praise did not change only our interpretation and application of those words.   The person who lacks genuine appreciation of their worth is always seeking to find it in the approval of others.  Sadly………there will NEVER be enough praise for them.

Let’s be honest.  We all like praise!   It makes us feel good and like anything that makes us feel good, we can begin to desire it, even crave it.   But what we do with that desire will reveal a lot about our character.  

A person with high integrity will remain faithful to all that God prompts them to do.   They will do what He tells them to do when He tells them to do it and how He tells them to do it-----all with little or no concern for the praise they will or will not receive.

A person of lower integrity will be so drawn by the lure of praise as to set aside the things of God.   They become addicted to praise and that praise becomes a drug just as intoxicating as any street drug.

In the midst of praise do we agree with the adoration?

Do we begin to get puffed up, thinking we have arrived?

Or……….do we recognize the truth about ourselves?

Do we press on to become the person God desires or do we become stagnant in thinking we are the good one……..the one everybody loves the most?

“Those who correct someone will,
in the end, find more favor
than those with flattering tongues”.    Prov. 28:23  CEB

“It is better to warn a man than to pretend to praise him.
In the end he will be more pleased with you”.   Prov. 28:23 NIRV

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