Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Suffering from Excessive Adoration

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 27:17-21

In Spider-Man 3, starring Toby Maguire, Spider-Man finds himself in an unusual place for a movie screen superhero: everything is going really well for him. New York has come to love him and, as Peter Parker, he is considering proposing to the love of his life. They are happy in love and life is wonderful. But that is when and why things begin to unravel. Everything is going so well for Peter, and he is so enthralled with the fact that people love him as Spider-Man, that he lets it go to his head. He misses signs that his girlfriend is going through a difficult set of circumstances. Thinking only of how much more people will love him, he allows an attractive young woman to kiss his masked alter ego right in front of his girlfriend. People love his work as Spider-Man so much that he begins to think he is great at everything else too. But the whole time, he is messing up his life and is incapable of seeing it because the praise for Spider-Man has blinded him.

The author of the book of Proverbs knew well the risk that comes with praise and he labeled praise a place of testing and purification. Proverbs 27:21 reads, "A crucible for silver, and a smelter for gold, and a man for the words of his praise" (HCSB). One of the toughest tests for a person to face is learning how to respond to praise. Sometimes praise is something that motivates us to keep going. But sometimes we allow praise to define who we are. We can begin to define ourselves by whether or not people praise us. We can become addicted to the praise we receive and begin actively doing things which will draw us praise. We can become accustomed to praise and grow angry if we don't receive it or even begin to believe it and start thinking of ourselves as better than other people.

Tough times can test your will. Good times test your character. Do you have an issue with pride? Do you forget to rely on God when you seem to have things handled? Do you let praise go to your head or do you remember that the only praise that matters comes from your Heavenly Father. Peter Parker had to learn the hard way not to believe his own hype. How will you fare when you face the test of praise?

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