2 Samuel 16:23; 17:23 “And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom. And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.”
In those early days as a young saved man, I heard preachers and teachers that caused me to sit in awe of the truths they shared. I hung on their words as God’s Word and the Spirit’s conviction forged my spiritual character. Unless I had been rightly counseled, I may have wholly followed those men rather than following God.
I was taught that the awe of the words I may have heard were God’s doing. He was the One speaking to my heart. He was using the preacher or the teacher as His mouthpiece. It was not the character of the man to be lifted up, but the God of the man.
It is an amazing thing to be used of God. To know that the message preached , the lesson taught, the counsel given or the words of wisdom shared has helped someone can be invigorating. So much so, that if we are not careful, we will step into the light of praise and glory reserved only for the One who truly deserves it.
Far too many run after the methods or the man – when in fact, it comes down to one thing; God is using His chosen vessel to draw us to Himself. The Father has gifted and given talents to many a man throughout history to do great things for the cause of Christ. Yet, when any man steps into the light of glory solely reserved for the God of Heaven, pride begins to possess us.
The sin of pride is so subtle. You can only detect it by its fruit.
Proverbs 13:10 “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”
Jeremiah 48:29 “We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.”
By the time we see detectable fruit, the bonds of sin have taken hold of us.
It is no wonder that we are so susceptible of such things. It is in our nature to want to be loved, accepted, significant and secure. When we look to fulfill those desires by man, we become entangled in pride. But when we seek to be accepted of Go;, know His love for us; know that we are held in such significance and secure in His salvation, we can find true peace with any and all things He may desire to do through us if only we give Him the glory for it.
I have come to know the things my heart is capable of – murder, hatred, bitterness, jealousy, lust, greed and covetousness… the list could go on and on. I also know of significant gifts and talents given by God that others see and hear and praise me for them. The moment I think myself ‘something’ of a singer, teacher or preacher, I step into the light of glory only deserving of God to receive.
In my heart of hearts, I truly know who I am. All my faults and failures. All my shortcomings, disappointments, and areas where I truly lack. So, when God steps in and with wisdom, allows me to give a lesson, a song, or a message that touches a heart, reveals truth or is even that stepping stone for a person come to spiritual revelation; I must remind myself where that wisdom came from.
James 1:5-6 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
As I read in second Samuel today of Ahithophel, I was reminded that the praises of men can so often, be deceiving. Satan is right next to us, telling us how wonderful we are, what great wisdom we possess and how much better we are than those to whom we are teaching, preaching or singing.
Who better than Lucifer to ensnare us in the sin of pride.
Isaiah 14:12-15 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
So, what are we to do when someone praises us for a song that touched their heart? A message that revealed truth or a lesson that opened their eyes?
I kindly thank them and say, “I am glad that God was able to use me to help you.” It is a small reminder to me to thank God at that moment or shortly after for the influence He has allowed me to have in the lives of those around me.
From the closest of relationships to the unknown listener in a crowd, we influence so many in our lifetime. Even in Heaven, I do not, nor do I covet to be praised for anything I have ever done here on this earth. Why?
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
1 Peter 4:10-11 “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
When I think on all that God has done for me, thankfulness and gratitude rise up in my heart. Looking forward toward Heaven and that meeting, face to face with my Savior, I want to have something; some gift to give back for all that He has done for me!
We can win a crown with jewels – not to be worn in pride for what we have done, but to be cast at Jesus’ feet to His praise and for His glory!