Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | November 13, 2013

November 13, 2013 “The Highest Praise”

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)

Good Morning Friends in the Lord!

Being in the public eye, I as a pastor often get more feedback from people regarding their particular assessment of me. By that, I mean I hear from those who are happy with the work I do and those who are not. Personally, I prefer hearing from those who are happy, but then, don’t we all. Most all of us have a desire to be appreciated, loved, and admired. It is an ego boost and makes us feel good. The danger in this is that we may begin to think of ourselves more highly than is merited. One Sunday morning at a church I served years ago, one sweet lady stopped, shook my hand and said, “Pastor, each sermon you preach is better than the next.”!  Think about it! Was she saying I was getting worse all the time? I don’t think she meant it that way…(well at least, I hope not), but it does serve as a reminder to me not to think more highly of myself than I should. Besides, I also have those who remind me in no uncertain terms that I have said or done things that have caused consternation. Paul’s admonishment is preceded by his own admission of humility. He was a learned man. He knew the scriptures by heart. He practiced the law. He was a Pharisee. But he begins here by saying, “For by the grace given me…” The grace to which he refers is the unmerited favor of God. He didn’t earn it. It wasn’t his because of his education or obedience to the law. He understood his salvation was a gift of God, which gave him the authority to then say, “do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” He was saying that each one should understand that God and God alone, is truly worthy of praise…that as we have been given the gift of His grace, it should lead us to a humble thanksgiving for the work of salvation He has accomplished on our behalf.  I like this thought by Byron Katie:

If I had a prayer, it would be this: “God, spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation. Amen.”

Our true desire, along with our prayer should be like that of Christ when he said, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38)

The only approval we should truly seek is that of our Lord and to hear him say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” That would be the highest praise we could ever hope to receive. Let’s pray!

Holy Lord God; May our one true desire not be the approval of any person, but the approval that comes from You for a life lived in accordance with Your perfect will. this we pray in Jesus’ Name! Amen

 

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