Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised. Proverbs 27:21
This Proverb couldn’t ring more true. It’s amazing how the Word of God works as a winnowing fork to divide the deepest parts of us.
I have seen people completely lose the sweetest parts of their hearts, to man’s praise. Heads puffed up, egos enlarged, beginning to refer to themselves in the third person, thinking that they have the solution to every answer. It is sickening.
I have briefly fallen into the trap on occasion…I’m just extremely grateful that God never lets it go too long. I feel it quickly, when praise of man begins to be a snare. I am constantly reminding myself that I am nothing without Him. We all have a prideful place inside. If we pretend that we don’t, then we are much easier prey for the trap of man’s praise.
If we love man’s praise, then we will live or die by it. If we live for God’s affection, then we will grow in character, humility, grace, and the other fruits of the spirit.
Have you ever bought fruit that looked so pretty on the outside, only to taste it and discover that it was flavorless or sour? I sure have. There are many people we will see that have the appearance of being good fruit, but upon closer inspection…meaning, upon diving into deeper relationship with them or coming into a closer circle with them…reveals they are void of real depth. Our lives can truly be measured by the fruit. I want to bear fruit that is not only ripe and healthy, but also so sweet to the taste. I want to know that when people draw near to me, they will be blessed by our time together. I don’t want to be a person that others have to recover from being around.
Unfortunately, I have come across many people, whom after our relationship ended, required a lot of healing in my heart.
If we are drawn to others merely for their praise, then we will find ourselves abused more often. We decide what quality of relationships we want. We must be brave enough to walk away from wrong relationship.
And on a final note…if words of affirmation are your primary love language, you will truly need to walk in lockstep with Holy Spirit. He placed that desire within you. It is a holy desire, but I know that He wants to be the One Who fills the space for you. He desires for us to come to His fountain. Come and be filled. Come and thirst no more.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God Who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Proverbs 29:25