Are you working for God’s honor or yours?
18 He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. - John 7:18
When I was 24 years old I went to work for my first motivational speaker. My former boss had gone to work for him and then recruited me and several others. The speaker flew into Orlando and we all met at the Double Tree suites for the day. When the day was over, I stepped into the elevator and there was Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown in the elevator. Believe it or not, I had been so mesmerized all day by this larger than life speaker, that it hardly even registered to me that I had just met one of the greatest singers in the world. I had been drinking this speaker’s “Kool-Aid” all day. He had the dream life I wanted. People treated him like a rock star, and unlike Whitney and Bobby, I was actually going to get to be around this guy and learn from him. Soon, he recognized my own natural speaking ability and he told me he was going to make me a superstar one day. He let me teach a small portion of a seminar in Virginia Beach and I caught “speaker fever”. This often happens when someone tastes the thrill and power that comes with public speaking. I was so driven by my need for love and acceptance, that I had a drug like addiction to human approval and praise. I was a “Christian” this whole time, but my faith was very immature and I had no idea the devil was reeling me into a pride trap from hell.
Several years later, I built my own company around my speaking and training. The further down the road I got, the more I became unsettled by my own pride and ego, when contrasted with the virtues of Christianity. I was able to hide it from others, but my disgusting pride was eating me alive inside. After three years of fighting it, I decided to run away from all speaking. Soon, a dear friend of mine, Carol Ann Dykes, asked me to speak at a few of her UCF entrepreneurial excellence classes. I was on a walk one day thinking about it, when all of a sudden, I had an old vision of me speaking and everyone telling me how great I was. I became instantly disgusted and very angry. I stopped on the sidewalk and said, “God, that’s it…I’m not taking another step until you help me deal with this pride once and for all…I need freedom from this today!”
All of a sudden I had this vision, like a movie in my head. I was at a supercross race standing by a factory truck where the pro racers’ dirt bikes get worked on in between races. A few spectators were telling the mechanic, over and over, how awesome his tools were. He had a giant set of very expensive tools. The mechanic replied with great humility, “Thanks man…I really appreciate it.” He was so meek and humble, but he was a liar. He received their praise of his tools, but they weren’t actually his. They belonged to the manufacturer, but he never said that. He had acted very humbly, as if they were all his. He was robbing the tool owner of his glory. Instantly, the Holy Spirit helped me to see that my tools (talents and gifts) belong to Him, not me, and anytime I take credit for them without redirecting the glory back to Him, in my heart, I am stealing his glory. He set me free and today, I realize that I do not have anything that He did not give me, and neither do you.
The desire for human approval can cause us to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. We are all sent to testify of God’s goodness, and His truth, to others. The question is; are we working to be seen and honored by God, or by others? Most of us grow up desperately wanting to be honored by people so that we feel valuable. Our honor should come from God alone (Ps 62:7), not men made from dust. We can ask God to give us a heart to sincerely honor Him, and then we can trust Him to honor us when we sincerely serve Him (Jn 12:26).