Nick Batzig – Giving and Receiving Commendation

Criticism is far and away one of the most difficult features of life in this fallen world. Two things in particular complicate the practice of giving and receiving criticism. Pride revolts when others point out areas of our lives in which change may be needed; and, many who raise criticisms are themselves hypercriticial individuals–often overstating or misstating their assessment about an aspect of another’s life. Accordingly, the subject of giving and receiving criticism must be approached with the utmost care. While considerably less burdensome to the mind, the subject of giving and receiving commendation is an equally challenging part of life. Like its counterpart, criticism, commendation interacts with pride and is easily misstated or misapplied. Thankfully, we are not left to our own reasoning capacity to sift through all of the attendant difficulties. As with every other important part of our lives, Scripture has much to teach us about how to give and receive commendaton.

1. We must not praise ourselves. Commendation is meant to be an external act of kindness. God does not permit us to praise ourselves. This ought to be self-evident, but our propensity to do otherwise shows that it is not. For this reason, the Proverbs tell us, “Let another praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Prov. 27:2).

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Marshall Segal – Kill Pride Before It Kills You

At some point today, someone will probably compliment or praise something you do or say. If not today, it will happen tomorrow, or sometime next week. How will you respond? How do you typically respond?

How we respond to praise from others, especially over time, reveals how highly we really think of ourselves. I’m not talking about every specific email or conversation or social-media update, but about the trends in our emails and conversations and social media. Is our default reaction — our gut heart-level response — to give God credit and glory for our gifts and achievements at work, at home, and in ministry? Or, are we more likely to privately savor that moment for ourselves, to turn the praise over and over slowly in our minds, like a piece of caramel in our mouths?

Every compliment or commendation we receive comes charged with potential for worship. When we quietly, even politely, enjoy affirmation or praise without even thinking to acknowledge God, we’re not only missing an opportunity to worship him (and to call others to worship him), but also robbing God of the glory he deserves for every gift we receive and everything we achieve.

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J. A. Medders – Confessing the Sin of Platforming

“Let us make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4).

This is my confession. I’ve dabbled and stumbled into the sin of self-importance, ego, vain glory, and tooting my own rusty horn. I’ve wished for a platform — not a soapbox on my corner of the web. Who doesn’t want to be noticed? Who doesn’t want their peers to think you’re a go-to kinda person, a savant who’s able to smash words and ideas together — tastefully — like a veteran Marble Slab manager?

So, who? Well, off the top of my head: John the Baptist. He’s such a rascal isn’t he? He really gets under the skin, irritating what our flesh wants. We must decrease. Christ must increase.

BABEL VERSUS THE BAPTIST

Babel and the Baptist are at odds. Let’s make a name for ourselves. Let’s not. Let’s increase our following. Let’s decrease, dwindle to peanuts, and baton everything toward Christ. How can we increase our social media buzz? How can people see more of Christ by what I do?

There’s a fuzzy tension here. It’s possible to want to help others think biblically, to look to Christ, to learn God’s word, and also “market” or strategize or share online. Martin Luther and George Whitefield utilized the technology of their day to spread the gospel and God blessed their ingenuity. It is possible.

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William Gurnall – Pride and Worldliness

“A man’s pride shall bring him low.” Proverbs 29:23

Religious Pride. Some are as blind as Laodicea, and know it not (Rev. 3:17). As ignorance blinds the mind, so pride is a blind before their ignorance, that they know it not. These have such a high opinion of themselves, that they take it ill that any should suspect them as such. These of all men, are most out of the way to knowledge; they are too good to learn from others, as they think, and too bad to be taught of God. The gate into Christ’s school is low, and these cannot stoop. The Master Himself is so humble and lowly that He will not teach a proud scholar.

Ah, poor creatures, what a sad change have they made, to leave the word, which can no more deceive them than God Himself to trust the guidance of themselves to themselves. “He who is his own teacher,” says Bernard, “is sure to have a fool for a master.”

Never are you less holy, than when puffed up with the conceit of it. “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright” (Hab. 2:4). A sign is set up at the proud man’s door, that all passengers may know that a wicked man dwells there.

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Tim Challies – God Hates Pride

Is there any trait more deceptive? Is there any vice easier to see in others, but harder to see in ourselves? We despise its presence in them, but defend its presence in us. It is the ugly trait of pride, one of a number of traits for which God has a special disgust. In this series, we are looking at things God says he hates, he despises, or he considers an abomination. We have already seen that God hates idolatry, sexual immorality, injustice, hypocrisy, and deceit. Today we will look at God’s hatred for pride.

God Hates Pride

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him.” So says wise old Solomon. And heading up the list of these seven deadly sins is “haughty eyes” (Proverbs 6:16-17). Haughty eyes are an arrogant man’s windows to the world. From the lofty perch of his own superiority, he uses them to look down upon others. From his self-made pedestal, he fancies he can see with greater clarity than his Creator.

Later, Solomon lowers his gaze from the eyes to the heart. “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 16:5). Instead of harboring thoughts of love to others, the proud man harbors judgment and bitterness. Instead of expressing kindness and compassion, he expresses disparagement. He is convinced of his superiority in achievement, intellect, morality, or spirituality. He is self-obsessed.

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A. W. Pink – A Contrite and Humble Spirit (Isaiah 57:15)

“For this is what the high and lofty One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place—but also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit.” – Isaiah 57:15

A humble spirit or heart, is an infallible sign of regeneration; for the unregenerate are proud, self-satisfied, self-righteous.

Yet the very mention of the word “humility” seems to cut off many Christians. As they examine themselves, they discover so much pride at work within, that they are quite unable to persuade themselves that they have a humble heart. It seems to them—that humility is one thing they most evidently lack. Now it will no doubt be a startling statement—but we unhesitatingly affirm that the great majority of God’s people are far more humble than they suppose!

FIRST, that the Christian reader possesses a humble heart, is plain from the fact that he confesses himself to be a Hell-deserving sinner. We do not have in mind what you say of yourself when in the company of your fellows — but rather what you feel and say of yourself when alone with God. Whatever pretenses you are guilty of before men—when in the presence of the Omniscient One—you are real, sincere, and genuine.

Now, dear reader, be honest with yourself: When on your knees before the Throne of Grace, do you freely and frankly acknowledge that if you received your lawful due, you would—even now—be suffering the dreadful fires of Hell? If so, a miracle of grace must have been wrought within you. No unregenerate person will or can honestly make such a confession to God—for he does not feel he has done anything deserving of eternal punishment.

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JR Vassar – Renouncing Narcissism

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Glory Hunger

Life is a war for glory. Even those of us who have rested in Jesus to bring an end to our battle for glory still fight skirmishes in which we feel our reputations are at risk. We live on a battlefield where we strive to attain glory and put it on display. We measure ourselves against others to see how we are stacking up. Are we advancing in our careers fast enough? Is our romantic life lagging behind? Are our finances lagging behind? Are our gifted and talented children in all the right activities? Are we spiritual standouts? We become slaves to our image and the glory that comes from being extraordinary. With every victory the glory counter goes up, and with every failure and folly the glory counter is reset, and we strive to recapture that lost glory.

The gospel has the power to liberate us from that because Jesus won ultimate glory for us. In him we are given the unchanging status of justified and adopted children of God. We are fully known and fully loved. God’s image is being restored in us, and we will one day “shine like the sun” (Matt. 13:43). What people say about us, what we say about ourselves, and what people do to us is trumped by what God has said about us and done for us in the gospel. But the skirmishes rage on, and we still fight for the glory that comes from men.

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R. C. Sproul – Don’t Boast in Human Achievement

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Whenever I return to the first few chapters of Genesis, I’m able not only to review the events of early human history but also to see how humanity hasn’t outgrown our earliest aspirations. Perhaps most illustrative of my point is the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. We read in verse 1 that “the whole earth had one language and the same words.” Note the unity preserved from the original pre-fall creation. In the garden of Eden there were no translators; everyone spoke the same language. And even though sin intruded to destroy the harmony of the original creation, at least people could understand each other in the initial years of human expansion. They could speak the same language and communicate with some degree of harmony.

Speaking the same language, having the same values, this humanity built a city: “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens” (v. 4). From the beginning, the dream of human progress, the dream of the human spirit has been to build a city of such magnificence that it reaches to the pinnacle of heaven itself. It’s part of our nature as human beings to build monuments to human accomplishment. You can go through the cities of this world, and you can see magnificent human achievements. You can view the Eiffel Tower from almost any vantage point in and around Paris. No tourist in New York City fails to look for the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. You can’t go to Asia without wanting to walk on the Great Wall of China. When we go to Egypt, we go to the pyramids to see monuments of ancient kings. Brick and mortar, steel and glass—we use whatever we can to somehow say that we are important, that we are significant, that we want to be remembered long after we are dead and gone.

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Michael Boling – Pride Goes Before a Fall

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“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)

The word “pride” has been bantered around quite a bit of late, specifically in relation to the recent SCOTUS decision on gay marriage. Social media has been awash with “support pride” hashtags, profile pictures, and other promotion of this statement. This begs the question as to what one is allowed to have pride in and whether pride can be misplaced.

Passages such as Proverbs 16:18 seem to indicate that pride and a haughty spirit come before destruction and a fall. So what is this “pride” this passage speaks about? The word translated as pride is the Hebrew noun ga’own meaning quite simply “pride or arrogance.” The term haughty is the Hebrew noun gobahh meaning again that idea of “pride or arrogance.” This particular proverb is giving a repeated note that arrogance leads to destruction and ruin. But the question perhaps remains as to what arrogance refers to and what are examples of an arrogant spirit that will lead to destruction.

Proverbs 21:24 states, “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” What is a scoffer? A scoffer is noted in Scripture as one who is arrogant and mocks God and the righteous. His way is always associated with the wicked. A couple of insightful passages of Scripture outline the attitude of the scoffer as well as their agenda:

“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” (2 Pet. 3:3)

“In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” (Jude 1:18)

We can clearly see that a scoffer is one who follows ungodly passions and desires in opposition to following the path of righteousness. Paul in writing to Timothy stated:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:1-7)

We get an even clearer understanding of what scoffing and pride which leads to destruction is all about from that passage.

In recent days we have seen a demonstration of scoffing and pride, the unabashed pursuit of the love of self and lustful pleasure. This so-called pride is nothing more than behavior and the glorification of actions that are an abomination to God. In fact, all sin is scoffing and pride and to continue in behavior that follows that path is to walk down the way of destruction. When someone notes for example that gay marriage is something that should be supported with pride, be mindful this pride is rooted in scoffing at God and His commands. The only end for such a prideful and scoffing attitude is destruction. These are harsh words perhaps; however, Scripture is quite clear on the nature of such “pride”.

The only solution to such misplaced pride is Christ-like humility and realizing the need for salvation through the shed blood of Christ. Scripture often compares pride and humility, noting how pride leads to destruction and humility leads to life. For example:

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Prov. 11:2)

“Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” (Prov. 18:12)

The wise are those who understand the need for humility before God. The wicked are full of selfish pride, thumbing their nose at God and scorning the righteous. I am also reminded of Psalm 147:6 which declares, “The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.”

We live in a time when “pride” is thrown around as a badge of honor, especially in recent days concerning the gay agenda. As the people of God, let us demonstrate godly humility and the way of wisdom and righteousness in the face of those who scoff and deride God and His commands. Those who thumb their nose at God may feel like they have won the day and the opportunity to pursue the pleasures of the flesh. What they need to realize is that way leads to destruction, eternal destruction to be exact so now more than ever, believers need to share the life giving message of the gospel in which the Son of God humbled himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and gave his life so that we might have eternal life. That message needs to be proclaimed amidst the noise and clamor we see all around us.

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