Pursuing Praise in a Me-Centred World
I got a new pair of trainers in the sales. I was looking forward to wearing them out for the first time. They were comfy, suitable for the cold weather and – most importantly – they were pink.
Maybe I’d get a few compliments?
I did get a few compliments. If I’m honest, that’s what I was really looking forward to – a pick-me-up, a bit of attention to make me feel better.
I was looking for praise.
Praise of People
While the Bible says nothing about trainers, it says a lot about praise. And it never says we should seek praise for our appearance, intelligence or wit.
No, it actually says the opposite:
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is in vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:20
We don’t fear the Lord so that people praise us. We fear him because he’s majestic and worthy of praise. Being in awe of God is our right response to him.
And this – even for us humans – is praiseworthy.
Praise of God
This is a radically different view to what we see and hear around us. Our society seems to be set up to allow people pursue their own praise.
We invest millions into improving our appearance or building our follower-base on social media; we use our careers to climb higher up the power ladder, or to convince ourselves we’re valuable.
But the Bible says that praiseworthy people aren’t those striving for their own praise, but those who fix their eyes on God – the One who valued us so much he died for us (Mark 10:45).
Unlike our me-centred search, when we praise this God, we find what we were always looking for – the undeserved praise of our heavenly Father (Matthew 3:17).