Friday, June 12, 2009

Only God Can...

If you haven't yet, you one day will meet someone who is a self-exalter. According to the dictionary, to "exalt" means to praise, glorify or honor. When a person seriously exalts him or herself, there is always a reason--and usually it is a result of personal insecurity or doubts about their perceived worth or value.

In today's scriptures, 1 Kings 1 and 2, and Psalm 37,71 and 94, we learn that David's fourth son, Adonijah, decided to make himself king. Two of his older brothers were dead (Amnon and Absalom) and the other son who would have also been older, Chileab, may also have been dead because he was never mentioned again after 2 Samuel 3:3.

In making the decision to pronounce himself king, Adonijah violated one of scriptures principles: it is up to God to exalt us.

For exaltation comes neither from the east
Nor from the west nor from the south.
But God is the Judge: He puts down one,
And exalts another. (Psalm 75:6-7)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

Reading through these chapters is fascinating because we learn here that no matter how we may connive, when something conflicts with God's will, it simply will not happen. Regardless of all our striving, our efforts are vain and our self-promotion is futile when we operate outside of God's plan.

The truth is that nobody enjoys being in the presence of someone who brags, applauds or otherwise exalts himself. I've often found myself feeling sorry for those who continually "toot their own horns," because it usually means there aren't loved ones or friends in their lives who will congratulate them when congratulations are in order, or build them up with encouraging words when deserved.

For that reason, although there are so many important lessons in today's passages, I want to focus on these two reminders.

#1. Leave the bragging about you to others and resist the temptation to exalt yourself no matter how difficult--that is God's privilege alone. To repeat a great quote, "He must increase, we must decrease."

#2. Speak words of loving encouragement to someone today. We may never know this side of heaven the impact of a complimentary conversation, but to the person who receives the kudos, it might prevent them from succumbing to the temptation to attempt patting their own back.

I love that God allows us to be his hands and feet while we journey here on earth, but I know that I fail Him every day. He wants people to feel loved, appreciated and encouraged through you and me. Let's go do some loving and appreciating today.

Father, help us seize every opportunity to tell someone who needs to know it that we appreciate them and recognize their value. And please, help us love them as You do. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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