Living on Praise, Dying from Criticism: Leading Worship, 018

Fancy meeting you here!

Recently God has reminded me of the importance of not orienting the heart with which I lead worship, my attitude & confidence, and even my life around man’s praise or criticism.. and it was such a refreshing and liberating reminder that I wanted to share with all of you.

If you have served on a ministry platform for any length of time, you can most certainly relate to receiving criticism. Someone could honestly and politely address, “Well, that one note wasn’t quite spot-on,” and we too often allow those words to cripple us. It can ruin our day!

On the same hand, we love to live by man’s praise, don’t we? It can be life-giving to hear, “You did a wonderful job!” or “You really nailed that song!” or the like.

And to live by man’s opinions is exceedingly dangerous.

Should one criticism have the power to destroy us? Should one compliment have the power to inflate us? I suggest absolutely not. While it’s flattering to receive compliments, our validation is not derived from people. Our validation is Christ’s power at work in us. We have unwavering confidence in Jesus and in Jesus only, so that neither praise nor criticism has the power to sway a godly attitude and perspective.

Let’s train ourselves, by the grace of the Holy Spirit at work in our minds, to let man’s praises roll off our backs. Man’s praise does not define us. It is appropriate to be genuinely thankful to those offering mounting accolades and flattering headlines, but our validation and confidence is not in such things. If we are too invested in man’s praise, we are also too invested in man’s criticism. And there will always be a critic or two. We must train ourselves, again through the Holy Spirit, to chew the meat and spit out the bones in regards to criticism. It is important to apply the constructive suggestions that certain people and mentors invest into us, but our attitudes and confidence ought not to be associated with people’s words and celebrations and critiques. After all, people are unusually fickle.

And me?

I’ve gotten pretty good at navigating through criticism. I can usually pinpoint what is important for me to apply and what is important for me to throw out. But sometimes I rely on man’s praise, if I’m perfectly honest. If I don’t receive validation from a few key people, I can be quick to assume that I did a terrible job. And the friendly and dear Holy Spirit reminded me, like I stated before, that I don’t live by man’s praise. If Jesus was glorified with the overflow of my heart, that’s all that really matters.

The same applies for you, too, whether you serve in worship ministry or not. Remember that Christ is the One who matters in the long run, and His word is the only one that we should allow to impact us deeply.

Seek the Lord with all your heart, and give Him the very best of your energy, time, and resources. In the middle of endless praises or hurtful criticisms, obediently allowing the Lord to build His Kingdom through us is completely worth it.

My heart,
Josh

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