”As the refining pot for silver and the furnace for gold man is tested by the praise he receives’ (PV 27:21)

This scripture has been on my mind… It is natural that men praise you for your gifts, for your good deeds and accomplishments. Sometimes the praise is genuine and at other times it is flattering and dangerous, to gain some illegal advantage over you. But whatever way it comes, praise is the fire of God to test your heart!!! We remember that Praise and glory belongs to God alone!!! Only God is worthy of praise! That is why we praise Him always! He does not share it with men. What then should you do when men praise you? When men praise you horizontally the right, safe and holy thing to do is to immediately send the praise up to God. Do not keep it. Do not swallow it. It will make you proud and foolish. It becomes spiritual poison to your soul. Selah!

In the scripture above we see that praise from men is like a furnace fire that refine the silver and the gold. Originally these metals contain impurities. That is why they do not shine. Once they pass thru the fire the impurities are burnt off and the pure metal shines for all to see. If it was silver it will shine as silver. If it was gold it will shine as gold. But if it was ordinary metal it will be revealed that it is not silver and gold. Spiritually speaking, the praise of men reveals the fool to be a fool! ‘ The promotion of a fool ends in his shame’ (PV 3:35). That is why I pray that promotion among men should not come to me and my family before God’s time for it! According to the Word of God, the praise of men is a test that reveals the best and the worst in men. It reveals who you really are behind the superficial golden glitter of fame covering your life. If you are a humble man the praise of men will reveal that you are wise and humble. If you are a proud and rebellious man the same praise of men will reveal that. Once praise comes you can’t hide your true self anymore.

When the women praised King Saul and David it revealed who these two men were in reality (1Sam 18:6-7). Young David ‘behaved himself wisely’ as he experienced success. He was humble during the unexpected fame in the King’s palace. He was a shepherd and a servant at heart. The reason given is that ‘the Lord was with him (1Sam 18:14). By contrast, when king Saul was praised he became angry and jealous with David. This was the door for an evil spirit ‘from the Lord’ to enter Saul. We often forget that before this time ‘Saul loved David greatly and liked him very much’ (1Sam 16:21). Their relationship as father and son started with love. But from this moment on, from the time the evil spirit of jealousy entered Saul’s heart, love died. Saul starts planning how to kill David. He became obsessed with David and did not stop this evil plan until he later died by suicide. When Saul saw that his children love David he became afraid of David (1Sam 18:1, 18, 29).

This is a spiritual law: love of men and fear of men are mutually exclusive. When love enters your heart fear runs away. When you fear men you can never love them again. What are the lessons? As a mother and a pastor I pray for my natural and spiritual children. I pray that they may be successful men and women. That is a good prayer! But I know that visible success comes with the praise and flattery of men. I know that this praise is a test to prove who they really are inside. That is why I pray that before visible success comes to them they may be changed from inside out. That they may be truly saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. I pray that they fulfil God’s plan for their lives. I also pray that in God’s mercy, visible success may be delayed until they mature spiritually so that they may be able to carry the burden of fame and wealth without breaking under it. I also pray for myself, to be patient as a mother and a pastor, as I witness the painful refining process going on in the life of my children. God’s time is the best! At last, we shall rejoice together and testify that the Lord has been with us as a family and a congregation. Glory to the Lamb of God!(from my notes August, 2018)

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