David was paid a high compliment, “you have been reliable…I have found no fault in you…” (1 Sam 29:6-9). However “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth…” is wise advice for “A man is tested by the praise he receives”

What is my reaction to being praised?

(Prov 27:2,21). Nehemiah commended himself to God, saying, “Remember me with favour, O my God, for all I have done for these people” (Neh 5:19). He humbly asks his recompense be from God, not from the people. This is in contrast to the self-glory and pride of king Nebuchadnezzar who said, “Is not this the great Babylon, I have built as the royal residence, by my power and for the glory of my majesty”. Immediately he was severely humbled until, seven years later, he directed praise and glory to God stating “Those who walk in pride He is able to humble” (Dan 4:30-37).

When we consider we have done a good job or others give us verbal recognition, it is rewarding and boosts our self-confidence and feeling of self-worth but there is a healthy balance to be found between the extremes of self-defamation, with ‘Oh it’s nothing,

Don’t let praise swell your head

anybody can do it’ comments, and becoming proud. The attitude of our heart is an area we need to guard closely, with our confidence being in the Lord’s enabling (1 Sam 16:7; Prov 4:23; 2 Cor 10:17,18).  When others speak well of you accept it gracefully but do not take the credit to heart, always redirect the honour to God who gives the ability, for He will not share His glory with another (Deut 8:18; Isa 48:11).

Don’t try to impress by putting on a false façade, instead recognise you are being transformed by Christ (Rom 12:1,2). We should always be endeavouring to do our best while those who are extremely capable and apply themselves should be recognised and viewed as examples to be emulated (Prov 31:10-31). Paul publicly honoured Timothy, “I have no-one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare” (Phil 2:19-23).

Jesus was commended by His Father, “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased” (Mk 1:11). Several times God’s message to righteous people included words such as, “You are highly esteemed” which reflected their character (Dan 10:11; Lk 1:28). “Well done good and faithful servant…” is the recognition given for faithful and diligent service to the Master (Mt 25:21,23).

See also: example, honour, humility, praise, pride, recommendation.