This is a reworking of a past post. I felt it needed to be said more boldly. This verse, oh this verse, sticks to my ribs.
“We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us.” 2 Cor. 6:8a NLT
I get the part about despising and slander. I’ve made choices in my walk toward Jesus that cause that sort of thing. Not easy, but sometimes inevitable, particularly when I write things that folks don’t like.
The part of the verse that stops me though is what I’ve overlooked before: “whether people HONOR us…whether they PRAISE us”?
Unfortunately, I have seen Christian celebrities (seems an oxymoron term) become so enamored with their praise and honor that they cease following Jesus, forsaking His renown for the worship of their own egos. It’s not pretty. But it’s real. And we are all susceptible. We love to substitute human praise like an addictive drug for the true, deep filling of Jesus.
Fame is fleeting. It steals your soul. And it’s cunningly addictive. Just as it’s hard to resist an adversary of the faith, it’s excruciating to resist the allure of your own glory.
I love what Michael Card writes in Scribbling in the Sand: “Never cease praying that you will not become a star or celebrity. Donald Davidson has said, ‘Our culture places an absolute premium on various kinds of stardom. This degrades and impoverishes ordinary life, ordinary work, ordinary experience.’”
We should be about God’s renown, not our own. Consider this verse: “They rejoice all day long in Your wonderful reputation.” Psalm 89:16
Lord Jesus, have mercy. When folks oppose us, help us to run to You. When folks praise us, help us reflect the glory back to You. You are the famous one, the one whose reputation we want to elevate. We love You and honor You. Amen.
What about you? How has fame touched you? Changed you? How have you seen it change others? How can we live for God’s reputation?