When You Are Applauded, Choose to Hope

“All that’s left now is the shouting – God’s applause!” 2 Timothy 4:8 (MSG)

If you live for applause, then you are living for something that won’t last. The Bible says, “Though a man calls himself happy all through his life – and the world loudly applauds success – yet in the end he dies like everyone else” (Psalm 49:18-19 LB).

Our focus should be on what will last – the hope we have in Christ.

When you are applauded, thank God in your mind. It helps you put the applause in perspective. In the end, all praise will go to God.

Now some people, when they receive applause, will say, “Oh it wasn’t me; it was God.” This actually bugs me for two reasons –

First, what they did to get the applause came from a gift God gave them. If God had done it himself, something miraculous would have occurred because God’s ways are so much bigger than anything we can do.

Second, saying this insults the person who gave the compliment. I know people don’t mean it this way, but they’re basically saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t be giving me a compliment.”

I know some people aren’t very good at receiving a compliment. They think it might make them prideful. But the right thing to do when complimented is to receive the compliment and thank God in your mind.

When you do that, you hope. You look toward eternity, remembering what you’re really working for in life. The Bible says, “All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize” (1 Corinthians 9:25, NLT).

Tom Holladay is a teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and author of The Relationship Principles of Jesus.

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