Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 12 : Practice Secret Disciplines | Day 80

Learn to Deflect Praise!

The command to practice Godly disciplines secretly is for the purpose of focusing on God's approval rather than on man's praise. Herod failed to understand this principle and paid the ultimate price for violating it. He gave an oration to the nations of Tyre and Sidon and “the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost" (Acts 12:22-23).

Greatness is not measured by how much praise comes to us, but how much goes to the one we are serving.

When King Nebuchadnezzar gave an ultimatum to all his counselors to interpret his dream or die, Daniel prayed fervently to the God whom he served. When God gave him the interpretation, Daniel immediately blessed the Lord and said, “Blessed be the name of God for-ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his” (Daniel 2:20).

When Daniel went before the king he could have said, "I can give you the interpretation of your dream." Instead, he directed attention to the Lord by saying, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days ... this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living” (Daniel 2:28-30).

When we do works that are worthy of praise and deflect glory to God, people praise the greatness of God working through us.

Notice what happened to Daniel after he directed praise to God: “The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:47-48).

Jesus applies this principle of deflecting praise by teaching us to give alms anonymously. When a person receives a needed gift with a note stating that it is being given at God's direction and all praise should go to Him, he has a powerful motivation to worship God, and we have the joy of knowing that great praise will be given to God because of what we have done. (See II Corinthians 9:12-15.) God is then free to reward us.

It is an act of faith to give a gift to someone anonymously. However, when God rewards that faith, it is the basis for great joy. Whom could you bless today by giving an anonymous gift so that he or she will praise and worship God?

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