Sure, we all like to be complimented. But if we're paying excessive attention to the praise that comes our way, we may want to examine what we're responding to. Some of our most progressive steps may be slowed by basking in praise.
The one complimenting us may be sincere, of course, and may be offering legitimate appreciation. But our responsem to praise is what's important. If we're tempted to feel bigheaded, we are believing in an ego separate from God. Isn't this the temptation the devil placed before Jesus in the wilderness? The devil suggested that great glory would come to Jesus if he would just believe in a power separate from God. And Jesus replied, "Get thee behind me, Satan." n1
n1 Luke 4:8
Do we dismiss the material, false ego as quickly? God, the one Ego, is the only Mind, the origin of man's ability. We do best when we humbly give God credit for all our worthwhile accomplishments.
n2 John 8:29
Pleasing God means, for one thing, being obedient to Him, to divine Principle , and resisting harmful societal pressures. Such pressures may take the form of drinking, smoking, experimentation with drugs, sexual immorality, or other unprincipled compromises. But these pressures can be proved to have no influence on us as we realize that man is not physical but God's spontaneous idea, expressing His qualities. Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes, "To obey the Scriptural comv mand, 'Come out from among them, and be ye separate,' is to incur society's frown; but this frown, mroe than flatteries, enables one to be Christian." n4
n3Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 238
Obedience to the requirement to be separate won't always lead to winning popularity contests. Rather, true obedience may mean disagreeing with old traditions; expanding the limits of outmoded thinking; rousing ourselves to right action rather than being satisfied with comfortable inaction; doing things others haven't outlined for us -- and in this way earning "society's frown."
But this frown can be helpful. For example, it often leaves one free of the demand to live up to a reputation in order to remain popular. Not to pursue flattery is liberating, and it "enables one to be Christian."
We have all met people who are distinctly memorable because of their love for everyone. These people love without prejudice, and they bring inspiration to all with whom they have contact. They don't rely on flattery or warm response to bring forth their love.
Isn't it a worthy goal to love in this way? Being truly Christian is much more rewarding than being temporarily popular. Real Christianity is lasting.
In the final analysis, how much the world congratulates us matters little. What we do matters much. DAILY BIBLE VERSE A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. Proverbs 1:5