Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seeking praise from man - A source of emotional instability

In this devotion we will contrast two things. One is an emotional instability and an inconsistent happiness that comes by trying to find fulfillment through an external source. In this case seeking praise from man. And the second is increasing ones emotional stability and joy through an internal method. In this case acting in love and then making a conscious decision to rejoice over the good we brought. This is helped by self talk. 

Seeking after praise from man can cause some mental instability. When we seek fulfillment based on the praise of man we are allowing external forces to control our mental state. If we obtain that praise then we may have a momentary elevated emotional state. But sadly our mental state is dependent on something external. It is dependent on man's praise. 

But if our mental state can be uplifted from seeking man's praise then the opposite can be true too. A lack of praise or man's disapproval can bring us low and make us feel lousy. This can put us on an emotional roller coaster ride. We are up and then down based on what man thinks about us. 

Here is a way to bring both stability and joy. First, whatever our hand finds to do, do it out of love. Then we need to make a conscious decision to rejoice over those loving actions. This is an internal source of rejoicing as we will see here in Ecclesiastes. 

Ecclesiastes 2:24
24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.

Notice in this verse there is self-talk. The verse says "... and tell himself that his labor is good....." Self-talk is internal. He does what is good in God's eyes and then tells himself that his labor is good. He rejoices without being dependent on an external source. By doing what is good and then rejoicing in that good he increases emotional stability. He is no longer on an emotional roller-coaster ride that is controlled by others. Walking in God's ways and then rejoicing in those ways is one thing that brings us stability and joy.

One last thing just to add some balance. Man may praise us for our upright conduct. So praise for walking in God's ways is a good thing. It is when we selfishly pursue praise from man that it becomes a problem. Additionally it can be a positive thing to receive disapproval from man as a result of our sinful conduct. This can stimulate us to repentance. 

Important note: This is not a comprehensive teaching. And it is not intended to be a substitute for Professional Counseling or Doctor directed medicines

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

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