Lenten Reflections: Refusing to Collect Praise

Today’s fast is “collecting praise”.

He must become greater; I must become less.

John 3:30

Most of us are familiar with John the Baptist’s words uttered when Jesus approached him to be baptized. Sometimes we fail to connect that confident assurance to the frightened plea he sent by way of his own disciples while in Herod’s prison.

I don’t doubt John’s sincerity when he uttered those words. But I know circumstances can make walking faithfully in the light of truth harder than one might imagine.

Life has made me very aware of the difference between a one time proclamation and ongoing affirmation of that assertion.

The author of 40 DAYS OF DECREASE uses words from Corrie Ten Boom’s authorized biography to illustrate how we might choose to use a platform God grants us (due to fame, position, personal charisma, etc.) as a window to show others the person and work of Jesus Christ. It’s a beautiful and sweet story of Corrie “collecting praise each day and offering it as a bouquet to Jesus” each night.

The implication is that Corrie was completely unaffected by the limelight shone on her and her ministry.

But there are other sources that say Corrie was as human as the rest of us-she could be obstinate and insistent on things being HER way.

She could use her fame as an excuse for special treatment.

I’m not sharing this to dishonor Corrie-she is an amazing woman of God and lived a life that brought Him glory! I’m sharing to point out that it’s a lot harder than one might think to not fall prey to the trap of human admiration. (Just look at the recently revealed situation with Ravi Zacharias.)

I know I purpose to turn any praise I receive away from myself and toward the One who enables, keeps and strengthens me.

But there’s a corner of my heart that sure enjoys hearing it, enjoys getting “likes” and “shares” on social media and (embarrassingly) keeps track of such things.

How tempting it is to gather up the flattering words of others that tickle our ears and inflate our egos! But truth is, any grace I possess, any goodness I may do, any talent I may exercise is a gift from God. And He deserves the praise.

So this fast is a good one.

Because when I begin to scrape together and pile up the praise of men, I lose sight of my purpose. I forget that everything I have is given in trust by the Savior of my soul.

My sole reason for walking this earth is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Lent helps me remember that.

*I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.*

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

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