Living in the Limelight
Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:6
Another pitfall that has short-circuited the call of God in lives of others is a desire for glory or fame. But neither money nor fame was Paul’s motive for pursuing ministry. Paul’s primary pursuit was to please God. He genuinely loved God and the people God had called him to reach.
In First Thessalonians 2:6, Paul said, “Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.” The Greek tense makes it clear that Paul was saying he didn’t habitually seek glory from men; it wasn’t his pattern of operation. Then Paul got more specific by using the phrase “neither of you, nor yet of others.” In a general sense, Paul wasn’t seeking glory from people. And in a specific sense, he wasn’t seeking glory from those he knew personally, including the church members in Thessalonica.
Paul’s statement in verse 6 was what I call a futuristic statement. Paul was saying, “I haven’t sought glory in the past; I’m not seeking glory from you now; and I’m not going to seek glory from anyone else in the future.” Paul simply wasn’t interested in the limelight — in receiving the glory of men.
This is a great test and temptation for anyone who becomes well known. It is a test that must be passed. If having the adulation of men is important to you, it will eventually become a noose that hangs you — as you’ll end up doing or saying anything to get attention and adulation.
Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) holds a powerful warning to us along this line. It tells us that “the fear of man brings a snare….” Being overly concerned about what people think of us and fearing their possible rejection of us is actually a dangerous trap of the enemy that he uses to try to control us. It will either muzzle and silence us from speaking the truth when necessary, or provoke us to say what people want to hear — instead of the word of the Lord they need to hear.
Either way, seeking adulation and praise from man is a deceptive trap, and the source is fear. And fear always works to nullify faith, which is essential for you to please God! So make sure your goal is always to stay pleasing to the Lord above all else and all others. It’s that pure desire of your heart to please Jesus that will keep you free every day from the trap of seeking praise from men!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I know what it’s like to live for the honor and adulation of men, and I do not want to live in that kind of slavery ever again. It’s a trap to fear man, to live constantly to please man, and to live for the praises of people. My utmost goal is to live to serve and please You. If I can live in the light of Your glory, I’ll be so thankful — and that will be a glory that never passes with time. That is the true limelight my heart cries out for!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I do NOT live for the glory and adulation of men. I appreciate being appreciated, and I am glad when people are thankful for what I do — but I live to please God. Daily I present myself before God as a living sacrifice to be acceptable unto Him, while I rely upon His grace to help me maintain a balance in my life of appreciating what others say and do while living exclusively for God and for His approval!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you ever lived with the adulation of men as a goal for your life? Do you know what it’s like to live in their pleasure or displeasure? I assure you, it is easier to live a life pleasing to God than to try to be pleasing to all the different kinds of people who are in your life!
- The Bible says that the fear of man is a trap. Have you ever experienced that trap? Do you know what it’s like to live in the fear of man? Have you been delivered from it? If yes, how were you delivered?
- If you’ve lived for the limelight of man and then experienced what it’s like to “fall out of the limelight,” how did it affect you? Did that experience give you a new perspective of what is and isn’t important?