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Man’s Praise or God’s Glory?

Whenever I think about Jesus’ birth, it strikes me again that none of it makes sense to our natural minds and thinking.

You’ve got seemingly inconsequential people doing very consequential things. Mary, Joseph, the shepherds who came to worship–none of them were rich, powerful, influential, or “outstanding” according to the world around them.

To us, it would have made more sense for Jesus to be born in a palace rather than a stable. He should have been born to a king and queen instead of a virgin teenager and a carpenter. No, none of this feels right to our human understanding.

Even with our displays (and mental images) of the stable and manger, we see a brilliant light with some hay strewn about and maybe an animal or two. No, it was dirty. It smelled (have you ever been in a barn that’s being used?). Scripture makes no mention of any disinfectant or Febreze being available to the young couple.

The world couldn’t even make room for His birth.

This is the God we trust and believe, the One who bypasses earthly status, wealth, and influence to change the world anyway. If He had been born to the rich and powerful, there would have been a built-in platform in those times (not much has changed on that front actually).

Instead, God asks us to believe that the depths of His love are so ridiculous and confounding that He would send His own Son to a world that would, for the most part, despise Him and the truth. Also Jesus, emptying Himself of all position and rights, subjected Himself to the will of the Father in obedience as well as the direction of His earthly parents.

newbornbabyWhen babies of the rich and famous are born, it’s a news event. The big celebrities often sell the first pictures for hundreds of thousands into the millions of dollars. They are praised and they are honored simply for being born.

Jesus–the King of all creation, the Savior of the world–received no such welcome from men. What He did receive was a night sky filled with angels singing praises, heaven rejoiced that the Father would soon be reconciled to His creation. This was the beginning of something history-altering.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests,” proclaimed a great company of the heavenly host as they praised God. No, man didn’t readily recognize who He was, but all heaven rejoiced.

It’s a valid reminder: doing what we do for the praise of men may appear good, but surrendering ourselves for the glory of God will change the world.

It doesn’t make sense that God would choose (and use) people “like us” (fill in the blank with all your real and perceived lacks), but we see through Jesus’ birth story and all throughout the Bible, He’s made significant and eternal impact by doing just that.

His plan of redemption is always moving forward and you will never have to prop it up or keep it moving.

In fact, if you don’t get on board in surrender and allow it to carry you, you’ll fall behind. Mankind may not care one iota, but that moment of surrender, that act of faith, that kindness and godly love you showed… Heaven couldn’t hold back its praise to God.

Don’t be preoccupied or satisfied with earthly praise when the eternal is what is really in play. That glory belongs to Him.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you ever struggle with man’s praise (as I have)?


  1. God’s good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. These should be glad tidings to all.
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    • Amen. Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  2. When I used to work, the few times I did, I sought praise for any job that I had done well. I got that praise maybe two times. But I didn’t lean on it. It was just a moment in time, a brief one at that.

    But then later on I realized that as an artist, I would get more of an attitude of criticism. It’s helped me by keeping me humble and not look for the praise of men, but just keep moving forward.

    • Yeah, I think we all need encouragement at times, but like you’re saying, there’s a difference between that being your goal and it being just a good byproduct. Oh man, as a musician, it can be hard when people criticize your artistic efforts. It feels so personal! But it does reinforce that humility. 🙂 Good thoughts, Ed. Thank you.

  3. I think we all struggle to one degree or another.

    What hits me more and more is that God uses the events that literally saved humanity to point to His humility, His Son’s, and what He wants from us.

    • Wow, so true. You think about all the superhero movies and “saving the world” plots and everyone comes back to laud the hero. God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the worldly wise. Another layer to all this! Thank you, Floyd.

  4. “It’s a valid reminder: doing what we do for the praise of men may appear good, but surrendering ourselves for the glory of God will change the world.”
    This says it all, Jason!
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    • Thank you, Martha! That’s what I want--I just want to change the world with His love and power! Blessings to you too. 🙂

  5. Yes I struggle especially when the ladies in my bible study says to me, Betty you are a great teacher, I wished I had met your earlier in my life. To bring it down to earth I tell them, you met Jesus before you met me which is the most important encounter you will ever have. The Lord in me loves to see the lights go on when these women grow and He delights in our growth. If I try to walk in His light, every time something will happen to show me He needs no one else bu Himself, He is sufficient to for all things. It’s then I am humbled that He would even want to use this prideful frail woman. The enemy of my soul loves it when pride reigns in me. Thank God for His amazing grace and forgiveness. those ladies I am privilege to teach know I am prideful because I tell them when I get that way, we call it being real. and when we get real with each other, we become less and He becomes more. Great honest post Jason. always glad when I stop by your place.

    • Betty, that’s a beautiful expression of true community. It’s what all of us need and so many never experience in the Body of Christ. Having that builds us up and keeps us humble. Awesome! Thank you so much, Betty.

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