Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
an outsider, and not your own lips.
“See what I have done!” That is a cute phrase from a young child. We smile and respond how impressed we are. But as one grows older the cute phrase becomes increasingly irritating to hear. We judge the speaker to be immature at best or egotistical. When the self-praise is patently off base, we consider the speaker to be delusional, and he is scorned as a fool. When the self-praise actually has merit, then all the more that praise is resented as being prideful and arrogant. Whatever may be the case, self-praise reveals a character that is self-centered.
But the same praise, when it is spoken by others, not only is acceptable but regarded as the right thing to do. “See what he has done!” That is an apt phrase from an objective outsider. We don’t merely concur with the words; we find them pleasing to be spoken. We want to join in on the praise. We will even urge the recipient of the phrase not to be modest.
But what if the praise does not come? That is the egotist’s real worry. What if others do not notice his accomplishments? Or perhaps they do notice, but are not the type to give praise? How then will others take notice? How will he get his due acclaim?
That very line of thinking reveals the small-mindedness and self-centeredness of the thinker. It reveals that his accomplishments are little more than attention getters. He has not strived to achieve great things, but to achieve greatness. He has not performed for love of the game or love of the deed or love for others, but for the acknowledgement of others. The irony is that his very attempt at gaining praise through his self-praise causes him to lose the admiration he would have likely received. His very zeal to make himself admired destroys his goal.
Christians, of all people, should have little concern about being praised, not because praise is bad, but because of what lies before us – “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Is that not enough to satisfy?
raise the Lord.[a]
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
This comes to the end of the reading of the whole Bible. The Proverbs devotion will still continue until the end of Proverbs 30. There are many Bible reading resources available online should you wish to continue reading through the Scriptures.