It’s a problem I’ve wrestled all my life — I crave the praise of other people. Since kindergarten I’ve attached my self-worth to words of praise.

Not just in academics did I crave the recognition of others, but in everything I pursued, whether art or music or being a volunteer or an officer in an organization, and later in my various jobs. I was the classic overachiever and teacher’s/boss’s pet.

There’s nothing wrong, per se, in reaching for excellence in all that we do. In many Scriptures we are encouraged to be diligent, to do our best. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). But when our own satisfaction isn’t enough and we look, hopefully and expectantly, to the teacher, to the sponsor of the club, to the boss, waiting to hear those words, “Well done,” then our focus is a bit askew.

Being a praise junkie can easily turn our focus from living as a selfless servant of Christ to filling ourselves with pride as we collect accolades for all our “good works.” The glory belongs to God. We are to give our praise to HIM, not desire what belongs to God alone.

The moment we catch ourselves seeking recognition for the good things we have done, we can fall on our knees and offer the praise we coveted to God, asking him to forgive us. He alone is worthy of all glory and honor and praise.

Heavenly Father, forgive my pride in desiring the praise of others. Please help me turn the focus away from myself and concentrate on giving praise to you so I might be a better servant and help lead others to you.

Throughout This Day: Nothing frees us more completely from our need of people’s praise than a full-hearted commitment to be God’s servant and live to please him alone. Today, ask God to examine your heart and show you if anything is hindering you from making that commitment.

Tags: Daily Devotional Matthew 5
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