Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God”—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech—which explains why the world will no more recognise us than it recognised Christ. (PHILLIPS)
Many years ago, I was helping mentor a young woman who was being tried out as a preacher. After her first sermon, I quickly complimented her, affirming what she had said and how she had said it. Then the problem started.
She deflected everything I said by telling me it was all the Lord’s doing. Nothing to do with her, all praise should go to him. Which was true in one sense: the Lord does empower and enable us, and all good things ultimately come from him. But the Lord didn’t write that talk for her or deliver that sermon for her. She did it.
Her refusal to accept affirmation may have seemed to be giving all the glory to God. But it was also a disturbing inability to hear words of encouragement or affirmation. As well as being just a bit discourteous! Of course we give ultimate glory to God and recognise that without his help we can do nothing worthwhile.
And yet we can take onboard compliments and affirmations without losing sight of that fact, and without becoming puffed up in pride. We are urged to encourage one another, and refusing to acknowledge such encouragement is a refusal to accept a good gift being offered by others. It also twists the whole idea of divine and human partnership. God works and we work. His enabling is meaningless unless we do our bit in embracing that enabling.
Above all, God pays us the ultimate compliment of adopting us into his family. Sure, we don’t deserve it, but he thinks enough of us to invite us in. Never refuse to accept that particular compliment.