Read Proverbs 27
When I’ve done something that I’m pretty pleased with, it’s really nice to receive recognition. That moment when someone says to you, “that’s really amazing” or “I love what you’ve done”, the feeling you get is incomparable.
But because this is such a great feeling, we can chase after it.
It’s the kind of thing that our fleshly nature draws us to. It’s the kind of thing that the enemy tells us should be the basis of our identity.
We crave praise, and often we go looking for it. We start with self-promotion and get caught in self-praise.
After all, if I’ve done something well other people NEED to recognise it too, and sometimes they need help to recognise it!
Today’s proverb gets right to the heart.
“Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth
a stranger, not your own lips” (v.2, NLT)
Self-praise is worthless.
It’s neither objective, nor helpful.
Chasing praise is also damaging.
It suggests the coupling our identity with what other people think of us.
God’s Wisdom suggests a different path.
Let someone else praise you.
Not ‘Make’ them praise you, or ‘Encourage’ them to praise you.
The emphasis is on getting on with living life, and if people notice and praise us, then great. But this is not the purpose.
Rather, praise should be a byproduct of living according to God’s Wisdom.
Actually, if we’re submitting to God (the basis of all wisdom!) and we’re looking out for the poor, speaking against injustice, investing in our relationships, loving our neighbour, and living with Godly integrity, then praise may well come.
But the last place it should come from is our own lips.
Because if we truly are submitted to God in all we do, and recognise our own weakness and reliance on His strength, then we’ll realise that the only person to whom praise is due is God, and God alone.