Ever since I was young, I have been uncomfortable receiving compliments. On the one hand I love them, need them and remember them for years. Verbal affirmation is definitely my love language. But at the same time I feel undeserving because I battled with feeling inferior to others. It’s a Charlie Brown kind of pride. It’s just as self-centered and God-denying as overt feeling-better-than-others pride. I do have a very selfish, self-centered side that I continually battle.
At the training conferences here in India I receive praise and affirmation. They see the American who comes and has all the answers. That is very uncomfortable. I love training pastors and do my very best, but I am totally aware that my mind, gifts, talents, training and opportunities are all from God and nothing I can take credit for.
Humanly speaking I can take credit for obeying and serving Him. But just think about it. I can serve the God of the universe who loves me and died for me or do something different. The choice seems very obvious, doesn’t it? I, with Paul, can say “woe to me if I don’t preach the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16). God puts a strong desire in me to minister. So I do it.
As a pastor I learned to graciously take compliments with a simple “Thank you.” Yet I do not want to steal any of God’s glory and take it as mine! I think often of Howard Hendricks’s description of a pastor being complimented after a sermon as the “glorification of the worm.” How fitting!
1 Timothy 1:12: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me trustworthy, appointing me to His service.” That pretty well sums it up for me. Instead of looking at me and thinking about where I fit it, I must keep my focus on Jesus for He alone gets the credit for everything good He does in and through me. I am deeply humbled and moved that He chose me to serve Him and gives me these wonderful opportunities to see Him work through me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it right in my head, but if I keep my eyes on Him, I’ll move in the right direction. (January 27, 2019 Hyderabad, India)
1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.
What about you? Have you learned to see yourself as God sees you? I’d like to hear from you. Send me an email about how this works for you.
Christian Training Organization