Archive for February 18th, 2008

The Praise Test

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 27:21 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Melody Merida):

My nephew, Connor, has become quite the swimmer. He is eleven years old and swims with a local swim club almost every day. They practice hours a day and have all day swim meets virtually every weekend competing against other clubs from around the United States. Frankly, I don’t know how he does it. I get exhausted just watching him warm up for practice! He literally swims — and very well, I might add — for hours on end without much of a break.

Because I’m so enamored with his ability and I because admire such dedication to a sport, I tend to praise his efforts — a lot! When I first started heaping praises upon him a few years ago when he began swimming, it seemed like the right thing to do to build his confidence. I soon found out that my praises were having a negative effect on him. When I would say, “You were great in the 100 freestyle!”, his response started to become, “I know, I beat everybody by a mile! Nobody on my team or the other teams came even close to me.”

At first, I thought it was cute because he was so confident. Now it’s been taken to an extreme. So my family and I are much now more careful with the type of praise we give to Connor. There is much more of an effort to build him up so that he feels good about himself but doesn’t feel that he is superior to others.

Like my nephew, we are all tested when praise is heaped upon us. It’s human nature — it’s hard not to become full of ourselves when others are telling us how wonderful we are or what a wonderful job we’ve done. When praise comes our way, we have the opportunity to respond the way that Connor did, or to respond with humility, knowing that anything we achieve is a gift from God.

Thought for the day: When you are tested by praise (and you will be) how are you going to respond? Prepare now to acknowledge God when it happens so that you can respond humbly and pass the test!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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