Dealing With the Praise Of Man

Jesse Birkey's picture

“Hey Dad,” I cradled the phone between my shoulder and ear.  “What’s goin’ on?”

 

An amused sigh, “I do have a job you know.  You can’t just call me in the middle of the day.”

 

I’d been calling him in the afternoons lately.  Pretty much while he was working.  Pretty much on purpose.  “Well you answered,” I joked back.  “So apparently I can.”

 

He laughed.  “What’s up?”

 

“I just wanted to tell you about something that happened at work.”  For the next few minutes I explained about an event at work in which I was recognized for doing a good job.  I was excited about my achievement and my dad obliged in giving me the expected response from a sincerely proud and loving parent.  That’s awesome and good job and way to go sport.  Alright, not so much that last one.  I mean, he’s not this guy.

 

But he followed his praise with a question.  “Now tell me what it means.”

 

I scrunched my forehead.  “Huh?”

 

“Tell me what that great accomplishment says about who you are.”

 

I paced the room as previous conversations poured into my brain like floodwater.  Who am I?  What do achievements say about me?  What do I do with the praise of man?

 

As much as my dads question surprised me in that particular moment it didn’t really come out of left field.  We’d been talking about the words of man (people) and what affect they should or shouldn’t have on us.

 

What The Praise of Man Is

 

It’s a good thing.  Seriously.  The praise of man doesn’t have to be awkward for us Christians conflicted by the unending tension of how do we shift the focus from us to God?  It’s often a panicked, sweat-streaked flurry of words and motions to deflect praise into the air above us.  What follows can be a little awkward. 

 

But like I said, it doesn’t have to be this way.  The praise of man can just be received. 

 

Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing. –1 Thessalonians 1:11

 

But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him]. –Hebrews 3:13

 

But [on the other hand], the one who prophesies [who [b]interprets the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching] speaks to men for their upbuilding and constructive spiritual progress and encouragement and consolation. -1 Corinthians 14:3

 

It is a good and godly thing for us to encourage and build each other up.  It’s also reasonable to say it’s godly for us to receive what is said.  Encouragement is worthless if it’s not received and often we sacrifice the reception in favor of deflection.

 

The reasons we deflect can vary.  Maybe it’s because we don’t think we’re good enough or worthy of the praise.  We don’t see ourselves the way the person blessing us does so we become very uncomfortable and look for a way out. 

 

Maybe we deflect because we don’t want to risk pride.  Trust me, we don’t protect ourselves from pride by saying, “Oh nonono,” toothy grin and points up, “It’s God.”  If we have a problem with pride, praise is going to feed it regardless.  And I don’t think many of us really buy the humble to God be the praise act.  We can pretty much tell who is full of pride and who isn’t, despite what is said.  In fact, we take pride in knowing who’s full of pride right?  Right…?

 

Or maybe we just think God will be mad for taking the glory that belongs to him.  That can cause it’s own kind of panic.

 

I’ve learned to say two words that dispel awkwardness and at the same time lift my heart.  They are, “Thank you.”

 

The most powerful and impacting words of love and affection come from God.  And he loves to pour those words over us.  But that doesn’t mean the encouragement we give each other is insignificant or meaningless.  In fact, when we encourage and lift each other up we are actually speaking from his heart.  Even unbelievers do this at times.

 

Jesus didn’t seek the praise and honor of man but that doesn’t mean he didn’t (or doesn’t) cherish the encouragement and affirmation from those around him—those who he loves and those who love him.

 

What Praise of Man Isn’t 

 

A statement of our identity.  I wrote about this in a previous post.  The praise of man is not something we should allow to raise our sense of worth and value.  On the same note, the criticism of man shouldn’t lower it.  I received an award for my performance at work.  It means I did a good job.  It felt good.  It has nothing to do with my identity as God’s beloved child.

 

Lecrae said,

 

“If you live for their acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.”

 

If we’re going to allow praise to raise our self worth we must allow criticism to lower it.  It’s critical that we get off the roller coaster.  That racing mine cart of peaks and valleys. 

 

Emotions do not equal identityI feel good about myself so I must be good or I feel terrible right now so I must be bad.

 

What an exhausting and tortured existence.  Oh who can save us from this body of death?  Praise God!  Jesus will! (Rom 7:24-25 my paraphrase)

 

So my dad and I have a running joke whenever we share an achievement.  What does that mean?   We laugh and know it means we did a good job and we let it feel good.  But we come back to the fact that achievement and subsequent praise doesn’t move our core identity.  We are just as loved, just as adored as we were prior to the achievement because we are God’s beloved sons.   And so are you.

 

**Bob Sorge wrote an excellent book on this subject.  I encourage you to check it out.  Find it here.**

 

Blessings,

 

Jesse and Kara Birkey

 

www.jessebirkey.com

[email protected]

twitter.com/JesseBirkey

http://www.facebook.com/jesse.birkey

http://www.amazon.com/author/jessebirkey

 

Jesse and Kara Birkey are committed lovers of Jesus who seek to show others the extraordinary life of Jesus is available for everyone.  They have authored two books, been featured in films and seek to serve the Lord in whatever ways they can.  Follow their blog here.    

 

Bring Jesse and Kara to your venue.  Find more information here.

 

Get a sneak preview of Jesse’s upcoming fiction, Finding Home.

 

Life Resurrected, Extraordinary Miracles through Ordinary People has been endorsed by Sid Roth and Mark Virkler and is a collection of inspiring stories making it clear that the extraordinary life of Jesus is available to all who love Him.  It’s also the testimony of Jesse’s life, the road he travelled bringing him into the arms of Jesus. Get the paperback here.  Get the Kindle Version Here. View the trailer here.    

 

Marriage What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess is the story of their marriage—The tragedy and the restoration.  They bear their hearts in an attempt to get others to bear theirs and finally receive the freedom they’ve longed for.  Get the paperback here.  Get the Kindle Version Here.

 

Jesse is also featured in the film DeadRaiser, a movie shining the spotlight on resurrection testimonies across the nation.  Find more information here.

 

 

 

 

Add new comment

Add new comment

Results

Results 1 - 10 of 417

Pages

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?


Price: $$12.95

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice (hard cover)

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

40% off the suggested retail price!

For the first time EVER! Hardcover copies of 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. This is a magnificent, beautiful gift to give for any occasion. Retailing at $24.95, you can purchase it through our website at only $15.00! Bless people with the gift of spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Get a souvenir copy for yourself. Only 600 copies produced, so order while supplies last!

Price: $$15.00
4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of CDs | LEARN notebook

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?

Price: $$77.85
4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of DVDs | LEARN notebook

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

Price: $$87.85
Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

9 Books, 10 CDs, 10 DVDs now at a $30+ savings

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

Price: $$175.00
Prayers That Heal the Heart

Prayers That Heal the Heart

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 320 Pages

Prayer counseling that breaks every yoke! Everything you need to experience deep healing of your soul and spirit.

Did you know that you don’t need to be continually plagued by negative thoughts, feelings, pictures or memories?

Price: $$14.99
Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook Cover

Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 92 Pages

A new book has just been released that accompanies this workbook: Click here for Hearing God Through Your Dreams by Charity Kayembe and Mark Virkler (featured on Sid Roth's "It's Supernatural", with over half a million views just on YouTube).


Do you often wake up feeling there was a significant message in your dream, but you’re just not sure what it is? Like Daniel and Joseph, do you long to be able to help others understand their own dreams and win them to Christ as you explain His night messages to them? Wouldn't it be nice if you could receive mid-course corrections from the Lord while you sleep? Do you wish you could be receiving divine inspiration, creative solutions to problems, and direction from the Lord during that third of your life that you’re “just” sleeping?

Price: $$11.95

Hearing God Through Your Dreams

by Mark Virkler and Charity Virkler Kayembe | 292 Pages

Learn How to Hear God’s Voice, Even When You Are Sleeping

It is always fun to be on the winning team. Well look what God has done with Charity's new dreams teaching. It has taken off like a rocket with a live TV interview on Cornerstone Network and her Sid Roth interview which has over 850,000 views on YouTube already!

Price: $$14.95

Counseled by God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 146 Pages

Have you ever been defeated by negative emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, inferiority, condemnation or depression? Have you tried to fight them off unsuccessfully? Is there an answer that is deeper than simply trying to mentally reason yourself out of these emotions? Is there a way that Jesus can speak a word of life into the depths of your emotional despair and bring healing on a deep level? Is there a form of Christian counseling that begins and ends with the movement of Christ within your heart, rather than simply with the words of man?

Price: $$9.95

Everyday Angels

by Charity Virkler Kayembe and Joe Brock 289 Pages

You can partner with Heaven’s angelic hosts!

Do you have guardian angels? Does God want you to know them? Find out what Scripture reveals and how YOU can interact with the company of Heaven!

The supernatural realm permeates our natural world! Therefore, experiencing angels should be an everyday occurrence–we simply need to open our spiritual eyes to their reality and role in our lives.

Price: $$16.99

Pages