I think it's a weekly, sometimes daily battle I fight. You log in to Facebook or Twitter and you see all these statuses of people posting about the great gigs they're doing, places they're touring, musicians they're playing with. And it starts to creep in…the motivation/thought of "I need to post things about myself to make my musicianship/artistry/career look as good as everyone else." Yes, the dreaded humble-brag.
The thing about humble bragging that I think we fail to see often is that it shows us what we really love, what our hearts are really craving: identity and approval from other people. Why, we wouldn't see a need to brag if we didn't think deep down that it would validate us in some way. And as a Christian, God has pointed things to say about where and how we should satisfy these cravings:
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
"Let another praise you, and not your own mouth" (Proverbs 27:2a)
”For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10)
This is serious business here.
I'm grateful to have some good brothers in my life who, when they see me turning from the truth, lovingly correct me and set me straight. One of these who did so just a few months ago is Jason Harms - a gifted jazz singer and songwriter based in Minneapolis, MN (Jason also has a FANTASTIC book he's written called The Affections of the Heart in Art…very much worth reading). Thank you Jason…I needed that correction more than you know.
In Harms' book he writes this:
"Our pride whispers to us that our work’s value (and our pleasure) is proportional to its recognition or affirmation in the eyes of men. But if an artist would seek his satisfaction in that Sphere One fellowship with God, in being found faithful and obedient to God in his work, he can absolutely have his appetite for being accepted satisfied. We should seek to know God’s praises in our work and entrust to God whether or not the work ever gets shown, or what might be the artwork’s replication factor, or in which venue might it be displayed. Due to our pride, we often miss the port of satisfaction because we understand that port to be named “The Praises of Men” rather than “Faithfulness to God."
I couldn't say it better myself. And I need to remember this everyday. It's better to pursue faithfulness to the Lord - which will last for eternity - rather than fight tooth and nail for the praises of men, which ultimately mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.
“O fear the LORD, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want.” (Psalm 34:9)