What Sets Us FreeDo you ever try to earn points with God?
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Let someone else praise you, not your own
mouth—a stranger, not your own lips
Despite his status as a former world-class
basketball player, David Robinson has resisted
superstardom’s relentless temptations and forged a
reputation as a quality human being on and off the court.
One of the tangible results of his ongoing legacy is a
private school in San Antonio, Texas.
A cursory glance at this academically rigorous institution
won’t tell you that Robinson contributed $9 million (USD)
to found it. The Carver Academy doesn’t bear Robinson’s
name, but rather honors the memory of the great botanist
and educator George Washington Carver (1864–1943).
In a world that clamors for praise and adulation, David
Robinson’s humble generosity is refreshing.
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He warned against doing
things for the purpose of getting praise. “Watch out!” Jesus
said. “Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired
by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in
heaven” (Matthew 6:1). He extended that warning to indict
“hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and
in synagogues where everyone can see them” (v.5). Jesus
wanted us to be secretive about our good deeds.
It’s easy to get addicted to praise and to fish for
compliments. We crave to hear the glowing things
people say about us. Humility, it seems, is impossibly
elusive. And yet to be humble is the absolute standard
Jesus calls us to. He lived it out for us. Paul wrote,
“Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to
cling to. . . . He took the humble position of a slave” (Philippians 2:6-7).
Some good advice for your humility quest is found in these words: “Let
someone else praise you, not your own mouth—a stranger, not your own lips”
(Proverbs 27:2). “God blesses those who are humble,” Jesus declared, “for they
will inherit the whole earth” (Matthew 5:5). —Tim Gustafson
What did Jesus say about
good deeds in Matthew
5:14-16? How does this
jibe with 6:1-6?
How do you deal with
the desire to receive
praise and attention?
Who gets the praise
when you let your
good deeds speak for
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