<<public reputation>>

Aspire to be great in the Kingdom of God because of your acts of faith, good works, godly influence and righteous lifestyle rather than trying to make it in this world’s fickle society, which is but a fleeting illusion. The motive of the people who started building the tower of Babel was let’s make a name for ourselves (Gen 11:4). Moses, who was extremely

Seek the approval of God, not the praise of man

humble (and maintained that attribute throughout his life), was used by God in outstanding ways (Num 12:3; Deut 34:10-12). News about the healing power of Jesus spread with His reputation and fame enraging the jealous religious leaders (Mt 4:24; Lk 5:15).

Those who become famous in some measure are always in society’s spotlight. Unfortunately, the unrelenting attention and pressure often has a serious negative impact and instead of being role models for others to follow, because of pride and unholy lifestyles, they crash out, as their character has not grown along with their fame. They have accepted the praise and glory of man, rather than attributing it to the rightful recipient — God (Deut 8:18; Mt 5:16).

When an OT kings heart became arrogant and hardened with pride in his own ability he was stripped of his glory (Dan 4:30, 5:20). After this humbling experience he acknowledged and gave glory to God, the true source of all his achievements and he was restored to his position (Dan 4:37, 5:21). Centuries later another ruler delivered a speech which his hearers claimed as "This is the voice of a god, not of a man". Immediately because Herod did not give praise to God an angel of the Lord struck him down and he died" (Act 12:21-23). We must learn this lesson well, God will not allow anyone to receive and retain the credit and adoration that is due to Him and rightfully His (Isa 42:8).

Jesus told His hearers, if you practice your outward expression of righteousness before other people with the motive to be seen by them (and accept their praise), you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven (Mt 6:1). He was using the Pharisees as an example of those "who do all their deeds to be seen by others" (Mt 23:5). He had previously highlighted three areas that people often use to

Do I live to be honoured by man or God?

impress others with their spirituality — giving and good works, praying, fasting or spiritual activities/disciplines (Mt 6:1,2,5,16). Am I guilty of these or other actions that are done to appear 'spiritual' and be praised by man? Instead, we should live to receive a "Well done good and faithful servant" commendation from the Lord (Mt 25:21,23). As Christians, we are encouraged to give, be involved in good works, prayer and various other godly disciplines for the benefit of our own spiritual life and His Kingdom. However, the driving or motivating force must not be for earthly recognition. After the disciples had a powerful ministry experience, Jesus said focus on the real priority, "Do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Lk 10:20). Is a successful ministry my god, or is it God? Do I crave temporary earthly recognition from man or lasting reward from God?

Jesus said, "I do not accept praise from men...yet you make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from God?" (Jn 5:41,44). Jesus further said, "I always do what pleases the Father" (Jn 8:29).

While it is right to recognise and thank those who have contributed their efforts, time and resources to an endeavour, this should not be exclusively directed to them. However, there should be an acknowledgement it is the Lord's enablement and they have just been obedient vessels doing what He wants as they have worked with Him (Gen 24:27; Neh 6:16; Mk 16:20; Lk 17:10).

See also: Babel, celebrity, character, ego, example, hero/heroine, image, influence, motive/motivation, pride, recognition, reputation, role models.