For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
Actors, models, and talent for Christ: you must learn to discern praise from flattery. Praise comes from God. Flattery comes from man. Praise comes from love. Flattery comes from envy.
Consider two Scriptures: 1) 'Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, but who is able to stand before jealousy?' (Proverbs 27:4). 2) 'For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy' (Mark 15:10).
God says jealously will make you fall. Jesus allowed Himself to take that fall. He fell on purpose, so that you could remain standing. Therefore, stand. Become wise to Satan's strategy. Flattery is like a poisonous mushroom. It may look good and taste good, but it's not good.
'So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, 'Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?' ' (Luke 20:20-22).
Understand also that the Holy Spirit within you elicits strong reactions. For those headed toward salvation, you're a breath of fresh air. God's people love being around you. They are the ones who praise you with His words.
To those headed in the opposite direction, you stink. Some people can't stand you. They envy your talent. They'll either jeer you or cheer you. But if they cheer, it's not real. It's flattery. Consider flattery a time bomb. Sooner or later, it will explode, and you will fall. Because flattery invites narcissism and pride into the lives of those who receive it.
Jesus teaches us how to discern good people from pretenders and praise from flattery: 'You will know them by their fruits' (Matthew 7:16). Therefore, look for the visible evidence of a life well-lived to judge whether to receive a compliment or to discard it.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the How To Handle A Compliment series.