Acts 12:20-24 – “Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country. 21 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. 24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.” NKJV
I had a man of God stand before me years ago in a public meeting and as he was ministering to people he said over and over, “Flattery, flattery, flattery,” then walked away. Later he came back and said, “My brother God wants me to warn you not to listen to the flattery that people have, are and will give you. Keep your focus on Me and know that all that you have, all that you are, and all that you will ever be is dependent upon Me – THE LORD!” I took that to heart and have always grown very uncomfortable when people begin to flatter me. I know that sometimes it is a genuine expression of respect and they are giving me honor but I NEVER want to take credit for what God does through me. As the song of old – “Without Him, I could do nothing. Without Him, I’d surely fail. Without Him, my life would be hopeless like a ship without a sail.” I take that as a staple in my life. I’ve had people tell me you need to learn how to take compliments and maybe I do but I am NEVER comfortable with words directed toward me for things God has done.
I believe the following quote by Vance Havner is totally accurate – “Popularity has slain more prophets of God than persecution ever did.” I’ve seen preachers, individuals, businessmen, and most assuredly politicians succumb to this type of thing that cost Herod his kingdom and life.
I suppose that is one of the reasons that I have always tried to teach those I have led to “Follow me ONLY, as I follow Christ.” I’ve always told the Churches that I was privileged to lead that if they depended on me they would be disappointed because I am human just as they. My philosophy has always been to get the focus of every person and congregation upon JESUS, not man!
I confess that it is nice to hear complimentary words from time to time but sometimes those words or expressions go beyond what I’m comfortable with and feel that if I allowed them to continue I’d be treading on God’s turf and taking honor to myself that belongs only to Him. I have great respect for many men and women of God and hold them in high esteem but I always keep in mind that they are human just as I. I don’t want to find myself or any congregation in the condition of the Corinthian church who were saying, “I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos, I’m of Peter, or I’m of Christ,” and thereby dividing the Body. Christ is not divided and only Jesus died for us! I cannot save anyone God can. I am a member they are members of the Body of Christ just like everyone else. Their gift and calling may place them in a position of public recognition but IT IS STILL CHRIST! So long as we remember that we will be fine!
May God bless you as you go through your day!