“The crucible is for silver and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by the praise accorded him.” (v.21)

This is one of those verses that you carry in your pocket or tape to the wall or leave on the top of your dresser — really any place where you can easily see it.

What does the heart do with praise?

To the negative side, the heart listens to the praise. To enjoy it. To lather it all over oneself. To draw value and importance from the praise. Ultimately, to begin to believe that “I” am important. I am needed. Others can’t do without me. You should appreciate what I do for you. The heart begins to believe “I am.”

Where have you heard that before?

To the positive side, the heart listens to the praise. Appreciates the kindness that generates the praise. But realizes nothing good comes from you. Anything of beauty is Christ in you. The praise is acknowledging the outworking of Jesus in your life. The praise reminds you that you only did your job. That all the work was really done by Christ in His sinless death. The praise should compel us to point to “I am” who is alive and well in our life.