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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.”—1 Thessalonians 2:6 (NLT)
If I’m being honest, I have to admit that I enjoy the praise and recognition of people. It’s something I struggle with and fight against daily. It has made me, in many ways, a people pleaser. What can I say? I enjoy adoration, words of affirmation, and respect. I like being liked. I love being loved. And if you’re being honest, you probably enjoy it, too!
We think more about ourselves than we do about everything else combined, and it’s not even close. And the world feeds into this by selling us on statements like, “You do you, and I’ll do me,” “I’m looking out for number one,” and “It’s all about me.” So, it’s no surprise that I, and many others, would seek after and revel in the praise of others.
But as we see clearly in the Scriptures, this is contrary to what we should be seeking after! Matthew 6:33 (NIV) says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” In John 5:41 (NIV), Jesus outright states that He does not “accept glory from human beings,” nor should we. The only praise, honor, and glory we should ever seek after is the Father’s. Not that we have to earn it by our actions. We have His love and His glory upon us through Christ Jesus, through Whom we’ve been made sons and daughters. And a son or daughter does not have to earn his or her father’s love and honor. But we are motivated and inspired by that love to act in such a way that is worthy of honor.
Is it a sin to desire honor and acceptance, to feel happiness from affirmation? No! We crave acceptance and love because we are wired to. Our hearts are constantly seeking after the acceptance of the Lord . . . but our selfish natures have distorted this need to the point that we don’t even realize that the only place this need can be filled is by God through Christ Jesus. So we seek to fill it with fleeting, shallow honor that comes from the acceptance of others. And sadly, the things that garner us the praise of mankind are often contrary to the things of God—things like earthly power and status or being rich and famous. These things are all about me, me, me. But it should always be about Him, who made it all about us by giving Himself for our sins.
So, every day, ask yourself “Am I motivated by the praise of man or God?”
DIG: Read John 5:16–47.
DISCOVER: Why do you believe we forego seeking God’s glory for the praise and honor of men?
DISPLAY: As you go about your day, be intentional about whose glory you’re seeking.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.