Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 12 : Practice Secret Disciplines | Day 79

Avoid the Danger of Stealing Glory!

The pattern is all too common: we see a special need in another person's life and we joyfully give to meet that need. The receiver then praises us for our generosity. We smile with satisfaction and go on. Then, we bask in the new attention and admiration that we are given.

However, this praise can quickly turn into resentment and even hatred. We don't understand why this happens. Why would he react to us, especially in view of all we have done for him? ...

The words of that question reveal the problem: both of us are thinking in terms of what we have done for him rather than what God has done for him, through us. When people look to us, rather than to God, for provision of needs, they put us on a pedestal and give us the glory that belongs only to God. When we fail to meet new needs that they have, they become disillusioned and tear down their "failed god." This is why God gives the following warning.

“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another. ... Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare His praise ...” (Isaiah 42:8, 12).

In order to avoid having people look to us to meet their needs, rather than to God, Jesus commanded, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. ... But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:1, 3-4).

Paul and Barnabas recognized the danger of stealing God's glory when the people of Lycaonia were preparing to worship them as gods. The apostles rent their clothes, ran among the people, and said, “Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you ..." (Acts 14:14-15).

If we allow people to look to us for what only God can give, we are all set up for destruction.

Years ago, a businessman wanted to join the little youth ministry that I was directing. It was so under-funded that I refused to take a salary, but this man, who was eager to get into Christian work, assumed he would receive a salary from the ministry.

Rather than redirecting his trust to the Lord, I pictured for him things we could do together in the ministry. Later, when he saw that I was not able to provide what he expected, his enthusiasm and expectations turned to disillusionment and resentment. I had to go to him and ask forgiveness for raising expectations that I could not fulfill.

Are there people in your life, even in your family, who are looking to you as the source--rather than God's channel--for providing their daily needs? If so, now would be an excellent time to direct their attention to Him and to explain that God is the giver of every good gift.

Give secretly; pray secretly; fast secretly; "... and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:1-18).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard