Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 8. Praise

Proverbs 12:8
A man is praised according to his wisdom,
but men with warped minds are despised.

I think praise and wisdom are often linked together because if you receive praise without wisdom, it can crush you. Proverbs 27:21 says "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives."

I never saw praise as something dangerous until I read that verse. I never knew how intoxicating it could be or damaging it could be if used in the wrong way, if applied to a life that lacked wisdom. But when wisdom is present, when the praise is given "according" to a person's wisdom, I think it can bring encouragement and hope.

Be careful about how you receive praise. Always make sure that the place you file it away is in a folder named "wisdom." The folder I often try to put praise in is named "Jon is awesome" and that leads me into trouble.

Have you ever found yourself intoxicated by praise?

21 comments:

sodabug said...

the thirst for recognition is so powerful- as someone in the performing arts industry, its like my bread and butter. everybody wants to be lauded as special and when the perspective changes from looking at God as special to looking at myself as special- i know i have to reboot my system to get back to basics.

thanks for this jon- it's a continual encouragement

Bill H said...

"I think praise and wisdom are often linked together because if you receive praise without wisdom, it can crush you."

Ouch!
Excellent observation!
Amen!

Rooted on the Rock said...

Well put Jon. Is there a difference between praise and affirmation? I was told by a great friend to accept the flower of praise from others but always give the bouquet back to God. At times it seems I want to hold on to them until they're wilted and dry. A little affirmation is needed but an abundance of praise can quickly transform into pride.

Jason said...

Jon I'm loving this series you're doing..

Just to add, you can also flip this message around: Am I giving praise to those who do not have wisdom?

We often place more worth and faith in pro athletes, entertainers, politicians, and even pastors, than we should. It's one thing to proclaim and appreciate that someone's a great singer or preacher, but then also construct a world-view and lifestyle that revolves around their life and reputation, rather than Jesus' life and reputation.

I know I have before. I've placed hope & faith in recognizable figures in my life by heaping so much praise that it overflows into areas where they lack wisdom. Then I end up let down when they stumble because I lacked the discernment to praise them in proper perspective.

The kicker is that all that extra praise heaped onto a person detracts from the One who the praise should have gone to in the first place!

If I praised others with proper perspective, imagine how much more praise would go to God where it belongs.

Alicia Leon said...

This is a very interesting post. I see the danger of praise often in my college. As an art student I see many obligated to praise work that has lack of meaning. Most recently I saw a group of my peers going out of their way to praise Shepard Fairy who bases his work on plagiarism. We were required to discuss a Utube interview of his. I spoke up about his disdain for people who still love the American Flag, and everyone wasted no time in coming to his defense. Sadly, the professors also promote this guy as the best thing since sliced bread. I understand the power of art and the responsibility of the message it sends. I'm often saddened of the effort we put into giving praise to celebrities, artists, etc. because they are popular, or rich. This is what we measure art success against in the art department??
Thank you for this post. I will be more aware of what praise is if I am to receive it. Just because an entire class says, my work is great, doesn't mean much if I don't have wisdom. Jesus needs to help us with our perspective (pun intended) :)

Laura said...

Perhaps this is bad timing to praise a blog entry about wisdom in accepting praise (or maybe good timing, given that this will go in the "wisdom folder" now), but I appreciate your thoughts on Proverbs.

I've read this blog off and on - very often with audible "ah ha"s and "hrrmms." Thanks for that.

gradster said...

Jon, this was just what I needed to hear today.

Gabrielle Eden said...

I've been so hung up on receiving accolades for my blog, and been through phases with it where I've compared to other blogs, and finally found freedom whereby I can just use it for the purpose it was intended: to express whatever God wants me to express, and hopefully, for His glory.

Wisdom has come as I understand my place and humility has come as I understand my value. With more praise and more people visiting, it has gotten easier to believe in the project.

Leslie Young said...

Oh man, this is good stuff. I've spent so much of my life seeking praise and approval from others. Only in recent years has Isaiah 26:8 become my theme. Even when I want to soak it in & hog it, I'm trying to be better about passing the glory on to its rightful owner.

Leslie Young said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for doing this! I love your serious stuff. Now go file that in your wisdom folder.

Stacy from Louisville said...

There is a lot of flase flattery/praise that goes around...you're so smart, you're so nice, you're so whatever. Give me someone any day who is willing to say, "Chick, you screwed up." Or even, "I'm really struggling now." That is a real friend.

Kendra Golden said...

Dang it. I need to reorganize my filing system. I need to trash the folder, "Kendra just wants to be heard" and dump its contents into the "wisdom" folder.

syinly said...

I have to admit I am a ham on the inside. I have wanted the praise and I feel God has been working on my character because he knows that if he doesn't I won't be able to handle what he wants to give me that I will mess it up. After reading this post I know to ask for wisdom

heartafire said...

If you let your readers keep the file "JON IS AWESOME," there wouldn't be a program with the gig to store it.

I always see humility as the a hallmark of a serious Christian, and you have it in spades.

Donna said...

reminds me of the old joke about the guy who was chosen the most humble man of all time......who lost the award when he wore his ribbon that announced his prize.......

Anonymous said...

Definitely. Because I've been praised not for having wisdom of God, but wisdom of the world - so naturally my flesh got high off of that.

Sylvia Goode Basham said...

I have learned that it's ok just to say "Thank you." and offer the praise to God. Corrie Ten Boom is said to have stated something to this effect: "Gather compliments like a bouquet, then give them to God."

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