How do you give and receive compliments without allowing pride?
How ought one to give a compliment or praise to a preacher who has delivered an outstanding Word from THE LORD — without opening the door of pride for him?
And how can one receive an overly-enthusiastic compliment, without falling into pride or false-humility?
The foregoing are derived from email conversations last November and a few days ago with Angus MacKillop, of His Kingdom Prophecy website.
He kindly requested that I do on it a teaching that can help us all in giving and receiving compliments and praises without pride or false humility.
When I thought about this matter over the intervening months, it dovetails with a Word THE LORD gave me a few years ago, and I have been prayerfully considering when to publish It: “It’s For THE LORD, Not the Donkey!”
I knew that the suggestion by Angus (who didn’t know about that Word until reading It for the first time in this writing), is THE LORD’s cue to release the teaching together at this time.
Now, like all things in CHRIST, giving and receiving compliments / praises must be inspired by THE HOLY SPIRIT; not influenced by the flesh. Otherwise, the giving or receiving, being fleshly, will destroy; not build up.
In other words, when giving a compliment or praise, ensure that it is inspired by THE HOLY SPIRIT, not the flesh. Give the compliment or praise to please THE LORD, not the man or woman being given.
And when being given a compliment or praise, receive it unto THE LORD, not unto yourself.
How does that work in practice?
This is what I do. In response to a compliment or praise about my preaching, other ministry or anything else, from my heart I say variously (as applicable): “Oh, thank you LORD. Thank You LORD for using me for Your Glory.” “We give The Glory to GOD for His Grace.” And so on.
Sometimes, in response to some praises, I mutter with joy: “It’s for THE LORD, not the donkey!”
And I really mean it. For we are not able to do anything without THE LORD. And we are able to do all things through Him.
As THE LORD JESUS CHRIST has said,
“I AM The Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.
And Paul said:
“I can do all things through CHRIST Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
A glass cannot consider itself for the clean water it is filled with. A cup cannot consider itself for the good coffee poured in it.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that The Excellence of The Power may be of GOD and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7.
“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7.
Every GODly thing for which we compliment, or are complimented, is from GOD. Therefore, HE must be given The Glory for all.
Brethren, this is a most serious matter, with GODly fear. Receiving adulation, and not giving Glory to GOD can attract His Wrath, even death!
GOD made an example out of Herod Agrippa in this manner.
“Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country. So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an Angel of THE LORD struck him, because he did not give Glory to GOD. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:20-23.
Herod preached with great oration, The Glory for which he took for himself, instead of giving It to GOD Who had given him the wisdom, the impressive oratorical ability and performance.
No human being can even drink water without The Grace of GOD. Without Me, you can do nothing, He says. We must be quick to give Him The Glory, not take It.
“I AM THE LORD, that is My NAME; And My Glory I will not give to another, Nor My Praise to carved images.” Isaiah 42:8.
We are nothing, and can do nothing unless and until THE LORD looses and uses us.
In 2018 or so, THE LORD started teaching me with the donkey He rode on into Jerusalem before He was crucified.
Before JESUS used “him”, He had said that the donkey was “tied, on which no one has ever sat.” (Luke 19:30).
Although the donkey was Divinely reserved for THE LORD, until He had him loosed and used, he was of no use. He was just tied and waiting; not knowing GOD’s grand plan for him as the one donkey chosen to carry The King of the whole earth in triumph.
Many are like that donkey before he was loosed. You are just tied and waiting; not knowing GOD’s grand plans for you.
Seek THE LORD to know His Plans for you, and pray them into manifestation.
I was likewise tied for a long time. In truth, I was being used by THE LORD, yet tied. Tied in a lot of bondage I didn’t even know!
But thank GOD, my LORD JESUS CHRIST has now loosed me. And continues to perfect me, unfolding His Plans for me as I seek Him and pray.
We must be completely yielded to Him to loose and use for His Purpose and Plans He made and saved us. Too many fail or refuse to do so.
Fear GOD and repent.
Until you fulfill His Plans for you, you will never be and feel fulfilled in life. Worst of all, THE LORD will judge you fiercely like the unprofitable servant, (Matthew 25:24-29).
I noticed something curious in the Luke 19 passage (NKJV). JESUS referred to the donkey as “it” in v. 31. But in vv. 34 and 35, when loosed and used by THE LORD, the donkey was repeatedly referred to by THE HOLY SPIRIT as “him”.
It is not a literary device of personification deployed as a figure of speech in The Text. It is a Divine metaphorical reference to a yielded person loosed and used by Him.
Donkey during adoration and adulation
JESUS sent two of His disciples,
“saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because THE LORD has need of it.’”
So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” And they said, “THE LORD has need of him.”
Then they brought him to JESUS. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set JESUS on him. And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.” Luke 19:32-36.
Like praises to a man, the donkey received so much from the people, but didn’t revel in The Adulation and take Glory for himself; they were all for JESUS:
- The people threw their own clothes on the donkey; but it was for JESUS to sit on and enjoy.
- And as JESUS went, many spread their clothes on the road, and which the donkey actually walked on; but it was all for JESUS. The donkey walked on the clothes spread on the road, but JESUS rode on the donkey.
Likewise, compliments and praises we are given when used by THE LORD, are for Him and must be given to Him, “that in all things, He may have The Preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18).
All adoration and adulation must go to GOD alone, “that in all things GOD may be glorified through JESUS CHRIST, to Whom belong The Glory and The Dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11).
What is the conclusion then?
Receive HOLY SPIRIT-inspired compliments and praises; but give The Glory to GOD. For it is by His Grace that we ARE and do anything in Him and for Him.
“But by The Grace of GOD I am what I am, and His Grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but The Grace of GOD Which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10.
Don’t fall into false humility
On the side of the cliff of pride, is the ravine of false humility.
Some people, being deceived, would not even receive a GODly compliment or praise!
Their response to a genuine, GODly compliment or praise can be cringing.
This is also wrong, and can even open demonic doors to oneself. For, false humility is exactly that: false. And all falsehood is of the devil, a liar and the father of lies. As written, “no lie is of The Truth.” (1 John 2:21).
A common reply to “Thank you” is “Don’t mention it.”
This is supposedly polite; but it is actually hypocrisy and false humility.
The same person who replied “Don’t mention it” when you said “Thank you” to him, would have thought you ungrateful and impolite if you had forgotten to thank him for what he had done for you.
I recently called and heartily thanked a Church elder for something he had done for me. (He’s been an elder for forty years).
In addition to responding with “Don’t mention it”, he erroneously claimed there’s no thanksgiving between us as Christians.
The false humility red flags went up all over.
I told him politely but emphatically, that to be given thanks is a blessing, and so he should receive it.
“Paul gave thanks to Aquila and Priscilla…” I added, deploying a Scriptural proof THE HOLY SPIRIT had shown me a few days earlier.
Thankfully, he yielded.
Giving thanks to both GOD and man is actually blessings released, and must be received.
Thanksgiving is the first thing GOD requires of us in His Presence to bless Him with, (Psalm 100:4).
So, it is GODly to be thanked, complimented, or praised as inspired by THE HOLY SPIRIT. And it is GODly Wisdom to receive the blessing.
The apostles and elders in Jerusalem praised Barnabas and Paul as “men who have risked their lives for THE NAME of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.” (Acts 15:26).
Paul himself repeatedly gave compliments to various brethren in his epistles.
As aforesaid, he praised and thanked “Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in CHRIST JESUS, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all The Churches of the Gentiles.” (Romans 16:3-4).
He even praised the brethren in Corinth, saying, “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” (1 Corinthians 11:2).
Therefore, readily receive GODly compliment but give The Glory to GOD.
Whether giving or receiving a compliment / praise, it must be done to The Glory of THE LORD Himself.
“The LORD Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:22.
“Farewell” Acts 15:29.
~ Jacob Addison Awagah
Jacob, an apostle of JESUS CHRIST by The Will of GOD, according to The Promise of Life Which is in CHRIST JESUS, (2 Timothy 1:1).
Like John, I like to put my head to The Heart of JESUS so as to know and do His Will always. What’s in His Heart is what matters now and FOREVER. His Heart’s Desire is my only desire. My will is to do His Will.
As John was, I am the disciple whom JESUS loves. And like Paul, I am “the prisoner of CHRIST JESUS” (Ephesians 3:1) for His Purpose forever: to obey Him always.
NB. Surely, the disciple whom JESUS loves and “the prisoner of CHRIST JESUS”, like ALL The Promises of GOD, are available to every believer to obtain, just as John and Paul did.
“And having been perfected, He [JESUS] became The Author of Eternal Salvation to all who obey Him,” Hebrews 5:9.