Seeking Praises and Admirations
By Carlton Foster – September 28, 2021
I don’t know what it is; if I have a phobia or I am just uncultured about human praise and adoration or admirations. I struggled a lot to affirm others in their quest for acknowledgment. It started many years ago, when I first read the passage in Ezekiel 28:17 (NLT), “Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings.” This was what God said happened to Satan. His heart was filled with pride! And in Ezekiel 7:10, “The Day of Judgment is here; your destruction awaits! The people’s wickedness and pride have blossomed to full flower.” We see and realized that the forces behind “pride” can drive individuals far from God. Since then, I avoided the notion of contributing to my friend’s and associate’s quest for admiration, thinking that I will enlarge their pride for acknowledgment.
I do believe that one should encourage others to do better; congratulate others for achieving their goals; affirming them with positive vibes, and pulling them up with words of affirmation, especially those that have fallen. But when others seek after these things with emotional distress, compelling you to acknowledge their contribution and their achievements, my alert is intensified and it makes me nervous to think that if I do as requested, then I could be encouraging a prideful behavior, putting the person in the same situation as Satan had done. I seriously believe that the quest one should take is to not draw attention to oneself; thereby dispelling the forces of pride and self-worship which can and do come through acts of affirmation and acknowledgment.
Jesus gave a frightful situation in Matthew 7:22-23 (NLT), when he said, “On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” These individuals were looking for affirmation to the things they have done, but no affirmation or acknowledgments were given to them by Jesus; instead, they got rebukes. Also, John reveals to us what the notion of broadcasting our achievements is like: “Do not love this world or the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever (1 John 2:15-17 NLT)”. Did you notice that John included “pride in our achievements and possessions” as part of worldly activities? You can search the Bible for this same theme and you will find many examples. Another one is Matthew 6:1-4 (NLT), when Jesus said, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth; they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
The Lord also said in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” This shows that God wants us to be humbled, which is a state of having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance, not being proud, not thinking of oneself as better than other people. When we are humbled, God will be please with us. Therefore God said in 2 Chronicles 12:7, “… Since the people have humbled themselves, I will not completely destroy them and will soon give them some relief.” Therefore, humility is a pious virtue.
In summary, when a person seeks after praises and admirations for their good deeds, it is diabolic; instead, the person must strive to be humbled – doing their good works in private, and our God, who sees everything, will reward that person openly. Paul reaffirms this in Philippians 2:2-4 (NLT), “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”