Athlete, We All Want These Two Things
John 5:44 (New International Version)
How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
Two things we all want are praise and validation. Being affirmed for having what it takes is important. The trick is to get those two things the right way, to make sure the right voice(s) are weighing in.
Jesus gives us three great clues as to how to do this:
1. DON’T CREATE YOUR OWN PRAISE. No fishing for compliments. It’s tempting but not wise. Bragging about yourself backfires. It works against the praise you seek. Self-generated praise is not valid, just vain. Heed Jesus’s words: “If I testify about Myself, My testimony is not true” (John 5:31).
2. DON’T ACCEPT THE PRAISE OF MEN. It makes you settle for less than the best. That kind of praise comes back to bite because it is consistently fickle and fleeting. It skews reality and becomes addicting. Heed Jesus’ words instead: “I do not accept human praise” (John 5:41 International Standard Version).
3. GET IT FROM GOD. Seek His praise. Let Him validate you by His word, through His Spirit. Take aim at His approval above all (Audience of One). Jesus suggests that pursuing other praise diets will drown out God’s voice in our lives. Expect the greater reward, God’s reward. Get a “Well done, good and faithful servant. … Enter into the joy of your Master” from Him (Matthew 25:21 English Standard Version).
Jesus clues us well because He’s like the finest of coaches. He will not seek praise to validate Himself, only to praise and validate others along the way. Having His Heavenly Father’s approval was, is, and always will be enough. (Do you believe this?) O may we function this same way.
Reflect: Are you better at generating praise for yourself or the building up of others? Are you addicted to man’s approval, dependent more than you care to admit on their praise and affirmations? Is social media getting too much playing time in your life? What adjustments might be necessary?
A prayer to consider: Sweet, strong Jesus, don’t let me become easily satisfied with the praise of men. I want Yours. Win the approval war that’s waged in me. Settle my heart and make me like You. Amen.
Bottom line: Identify what’s truly special but don’t self-exalt. Be sure to follow the coaching set forth in John 5 and Jeremiah 9:23,24. Memorize and practice these lines instead.