The Praise Test
January 23, 2009
“A man is tested by the praise accorded him.” – Proverbs
We often say that we are tested by the hard things in life: trials,
temptations, grief, loss, difficulties. But did you know that you
are also being tested when things go well and people are praising
and congratulating you?
Think of all the ways you might respond to praise from others
for a job well done:
“Oh, there was nothing to it, really.”
“I wasn’t that good. I could have done better.”
“Yes, I was truly magnificent!”
“Thank you! I am so glad you liked it.”
Praise is a tricky thing, and we often fall into one of two opposite
traps: we either deprecate ourselves (false humility, passing the
accomplishment off as nothing, denigrating what we did as not very
good), or we puff ourselves up (feed our ego, covet adulation,
take the praise to ourselves rather than giving glory to God).
Both attitudes are equally destructive, because neither gives
appropriate praise to God or reflects an appropriate perspective
of self. In contrast, a mature response to praise combines humility,
confidence, joy, gratitude, and generosity.
- How do you respond when
people praise you? Do you fall into either of the two traps described
- How can you be both humble and confident with regard
to your abilities?
- What skills, talents, and spiritual gifts
has God given you? How have you used them in the past? How are
you using them now? How could you use them in the future?