“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” James 1:17
One of my favorite classical works of music is The Creation. But what I like even more than the stirring sounds and moving lyrics is the attitude of composer.
It was the year 1808, and the last note sounded as the symphony’s performance came to a close. Applause thundered through the auditorium in honor of one of the greatest composers of all time, Franz Joseph Haydn. The piece that had been performed was called The Creation. Haydn had written it to glorify God, by telling the Genesis story of creation through music. Audiences all over Europe adored it. And that night, he responded to the crowd’s ovation by pointing upward and exclaiming, “No, No! Not from me, but from thence! From heaven above comes all!”
At that same concert, Haydn’s contemporary Ludwig van Beethoven is said to have knelt and kissed Haydn’s hands in an act of honor. Praised by other great composers of his time and admired by the public as well, he was heaped with fame and adoration. Still, he refused to become prideful of the music God had created through Him. He knew from where it had come.
For sure, not many of us will be musical geniuses like Haydn. But God has given all of us talents and abilities. Some of us have exceptional people skills; some have what it takes to crunch numbers with precision. Others might be able to cook, write prose and poetry, or repair the transmission on a car. These gifts from God are the result of the way He created us—in His image. God is infinitely talented and able to do anything! Being made in “His image” means we have been given gifts from Him to accomplish good things and to contribute to our world.
But here’s the rub. If we’re not careful, the stealth enemy of pride will whisper to you that you are the one who deserves the credit. There is something really seductive about applause and affirmation. Giving the credit to others is not an easy thing to do. But in the end, who would you rather have people admire—you or your God? And even if you are tempted to honestly admit that you’d kinda like it to be you—upon further reflection, my guess is that you really don’t want to go there. And you shouldn’t. Competing with Him for the applause, especially when He deserves it all, is not a good idea. Particularly when we read that, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
Remember, there is a world out there that is sitting quietly, watching your performance, waiting to break into applause. And when the applause comes, stand, take a bow, and then let people know where it all came from!
- Take some time to evaluate your reaction to the good things that you do. Pray and ask the Lord to show you areas of pride in your life, especially as they relate to the talents and abilities that He has given you.
- At the top of a sheet of paper, write the phrase: “From heaven above comes all.” Then list the gifts God has given to you. For each gift, brainstorm ways in which you could use it to serve the Lord and give Him the glory.
- Memorize Micah 6:8 and 1 Corinthians 10:31. Each time you feel pride begin to take root in your heart, confess it as sin and let these verses encourage your heart to live humbly to God’s glory.