“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” — Ephesians 4:14
Who doesn’t love to be praised? To know we contributed to success and that we have done well is one of the universal desires of humanity. Even as followers of Christ, who doesn’t one day want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” from the Lord (Matthew 25:23)? Receiving encouragement for being faithful is not inherently wrong. However, when we give ourselves over to the evaluations of others, we run the risk of being “tossed back and forth” (Ephesians 4:14) by a false view of ourselves and, ultimately, God.
In Luke 6:26 (NLT), Jesus said, “What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.”
Wait … sorrow when you are praised?
What Jesus is warning against is receiving our approval based on the evaluation of others. They may applaud the wrong things. They may criticize a wise choice you are making. “Believing your press” — what people say about you — is dangerous because if that becomes what builds you up, it will also become what tears you down.
We should absolutely receive counsel from voices that have shown wisdom in pointing us toward Christ. Ultimately, though, the opinions we should long to know are those of God shared in His Word and that ever-present voice of the Holy Spirit in us.
— Steve Hawthorne, New York Red Bulls chaplain
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