Alistair Begg tells a story of how as a young boy, his father took him to a candy store. While in the store everyone was commenting on what a good boy Alistair was to his great delight.
An older gentleman in the store noticing how Alistair was basking in the praises that were being showered upon him commented, “Young man, praise is like perfume. It’s good as long as it remains on the outside. But dangerous if you swallow it.”
How true! Not only for little boys like Alistair was at that time, but for grown men and women alike. If truth be told, we all like praise. We love to be praised for being good at this or that. We enjoy it when others notice our good traits and our great accomplishments. We feel special!
But wait! Heed the warning dear friend. Praise is indeed like perfume. Don’t swallow it. As long as you keep it on the outside, all is well and all will be well. The moment you let it get into you, disaster!
This is a necessary reminder and a fair warning to us all. You see as beneficiaries of the grace of God, we are nothing but trophies of that grace which saved us from our sins. Any and all of our good traits or achievements are simply and totally the result of God’s goodness and kindness towards us in Christ. Any honour we receive is of God!
In 2 Samuel 9, we read of David’s kindness to Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson by Jonathan. In response Mephibosheth said, ““What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I? (2 Samuel 9:8).
The grace of God should humble us. “The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves, for grace, like light, reveals our impurities” (Alistair Begg).
So, the next time somebody praises for something, remember who you are and whose you are. Do not let the praise you receive get to your head or your heart for that would be a disaster!
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise” (Proverbs 27:21).