“A man is tested by the praise accorded him.” – Proverbs 27:21
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 above?
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?