The Crucible and the Furnace.

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.”
– Proverbs 27:21

     This verse always strikes me to the core. My natural tendency is to seek affirmation from friends, family, authority figures, and anyone else I come in contact with. Recently God has been showing me that, while compliments are not always evil in themselves, I should not seek after them. 

      I’ve started to realize that the compliments people give us that are often the not problem, but how we respond to them. I’ve grown to understand that partly through the myriads of compliments that I have been receiving these days. I mean, sure I love knowing that I’m loved and respected, but sometimes I grow rather frustrated with receiving more attention than is good for me. But these days God’s been reminding me that “man is tested by the praise he receives.” It sounds strange, but praise is a part of the refining process that God uses to purify His people. 

     I’ve been realizing there are generally three types of responses to compliments. At least these are three reactions I’ve found in myself. I can’t speak for the rest of the human race, but I do tend to be typical sometimes. The three responses that I find the most common are the two extremes of either false humility or prideful indulgence and the proper response being a gracious acceptance.

     It was always my tendency to avoid letting compliments puff me up, but in doing so to run the opposite direction. I think there is something not quite correct about denying compliments when they are do. True humility has nothing to do with self-degradation, but is rather an accurate appraisal of oneself in light of who God is. We are not to think more of ourselves than we aught, but that does not entail calling yourself trash either. As human beings we may be broken, but we are still in the image of God, and that is a beautiful thing.

      Of course compliments can be a dangerous thing if they are saught after for themselves. I believe pride is one of the things that can most easily destroy someone that could have otherwise been a good man. So although we are not meant to think ourselves as rubbish, nor are we to tend to the other extreme of: “Oh yes, I am amazing. Adore me.” So much in life requires balance.

     It is difficult to find the proper place between these two extremes, though it is possible. I would say that you can tell a good deal about a person by how they respond to compliments. If they receive them pridefully it says something about the state of their heart. Conversely, if they refuse to accept them even when they are aptly due, it is very likely that they are lacking self-confidence and need to understand the value that God has given them. The humble man with a sense of value will gratefully acknowledge and accept the praise that is merited, but will not seek after the praise and adoration for its own sake. That is the response that I wish to cultivate in myself.

     It’s a long process, but I see God working to bring me away from either of those extremes and towards a Christ-like humility. Hopefully this made some sense to those of you who still read this blog. Wishing you all the best of blessings and hoping that I can be more consistent with my writing. Ciao!

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About Jonathon Thigpen

I am a student, writer, photographer, traveler, teacher, and Lego enthusiast, who is endeavouring to be a man after God's own heart.
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6 Responses to The Crucible and the Furnace.

  1. Wow, this is very true. I too have faced times like these, who hasn’t actually. It is very hard not to let certain things get to your head, it is also very hard to not take it so lightly. But that is the beauty of God, when you reach times like these and ask Him for help and guidance to not let it get to big or be taken too lightly, He will definitely guide you through it. I try very hard when I am getting complements (i.e. You are a fantastic writer, photographer, teacher, etc…) not only to thank the person that is giving it to me, but also to thank God because it is usually because of Him that I am getting complemented. He is the one who gave me that special gift, therefore, he is the one to be thanked. I also pray that it doesn’t get to my head, haha! But, only the perfect person, by which I mean God, can do this all of the time. Just the other day I had a photography teacher tell me that I have two pictures that can become national award winners, and I let it go to my head a little instead of thanking God for guiding me through taking that picture of the beautiful plant He created for our enjoyment, as well as His own enjoyment. So after you’r reminding me of this fact, I have repented for letting it get to my head and thanked Him for the wonderful gift of a photographers eye that he has blessed me with.

    I look forward to what you write next, it seems to be that almost everything you write about is a reality check that I need. I just don’t always have the time to comment on them, or sometimes, a little to prideful to admit I needed to hear it. Also something I need to continue to work on, haha. Amazing how God works isn’t it?

    God has definitely blessed you with the gift of writing and a great eye for photography. Don’t let that get to your head!!! Hahaha! Just kidding! But it is true, He has blessed you with awesome talents. When you post a new blog, I am always very excited to hear what God has put on your heart to share, or to hear how He has been working in you. I do enjoy the poetry too. 🙂

    You are a blessing to many and you are God’s special child.

    Jesus loves you, as well as many. Never forget that!!!!

    • Thanks for reading and responding! That is very true about how only God is perfect at responding. And thank you so much for the encouragement! I appreciate it!
      I’m thrilled to hear that God’s been using my ramblings to convict you! Keep letting him change you!
      Keep being an awesome daughter of the King.

  2. Annie says:

    Hey! I really liked this. When I tried to put a link (or attachment) in a comment here, WordPress sent me to your public email instead. Soooo, my comment and attachment ended up going there.
    Good stuff, Jon. You’re a good thinker. : )

  3. john anselmo says:

    sorry for the test, but your wisdom is beyond your years an i and i’m sure others are blessed by it .you should add preaching to your other God given talents.if it His will

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