Mohammed Ali was seated in an airplane and the flight attendant asked him to put on his seatbelt. “Superman don’t need no seatbelt,” said Ali. “Superman don’t need no plane,” responded the attendant. The apostle Paul instructed everyone not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think (Romans 12:3). Mohammed Ali ain’t Superman. “Think with sober judgment,” wrote Paul. Think rightly.
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth,” says Proverbs 27:2, “a stranger, and not your own lips.” Praise is not to be shunned. “Let others praise you,” it is wonderful, but from the lips of others, not your own. Receive it! A friend once approached a singer after a service, complimenting him on his solo, but he refused to allow it. “Oh no,” he protested, “it was all God, not me,” to which my friend replied, “Surprising, I think God would not have missed that high note.” That was mean, I thought, but I reconsidered. It was rude, but he had a point. Why did he not simply say “thank you”? It was not God singing, it was him. Certainly, when you are praised, it is okay to acknowledge the partnership you have with God. God asks, “Who will?”; you say, “I will.” He gives you talents and gifts, you develop them. Someone says, “Good job”; you respond, “Thank you.”
“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and a man is tested by his praise. ~Proverbs 27:21
How we handle praise tests our character as much as how we handle criticism.
My God, the silliest notion I have is that I am good enough on my own; that when all is said and done, I can inventory my life and say, “Open the gates of heaven and let me in.” I need You to save me, and You did. I now live because of You and for You, and I commit to throw off everything that distracts or gets in the way.
Keep my heart open to Your glory. Help me do what is right, what is good. May my life and my ego reflect Your glory and point others to Your grace.