Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.
–Proverbs 27:2

One of the simplest, yet most overlooked, principles of success in life is this: refuse to honk your own horn. That is, refuse to be your own press agent. If somebody is going to praise you, then let it be somebody else. Do not let the praise come from yourself.

Solomon said it this way: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). One reason we have such a hard time with this is we are convinced that if we do not let other people know about our accomplishments, then they will go unnoticed. If somebody is going to tell about our accomplishments, then it is going to have to be us. Yet the Bible says everyone who tries to self-promote is guaranteeing future humiliation.

Jesus said in Luke 14:11, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” To exercise humility, you must be willing to give up your rights. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus said about Himself, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” We have heard that verse so often that we forget what an astounding comment that is. Jesus Christ is the One who flung this whole world into existence by a single word. He created everything. If anyone had the right to be served, it was Jesus Christ. If anyone had the right to use people as mere tools to accomplish His purpose, it would have been Jesus. But Jesus said, “The reason I came to earth was not to have people serve Me but so that I could serve others to meet their needs.” If we are going to become like Christ, then it means we have to be willing to do that as well.

The essence of humility is giving up our rights, our privileges, our agenda to meet the needs of other people. Husbands, if you want to shock your wife, then try saying some Saturday, “Honey, I have a couple of hours today. I am free to do whatever you want me to do.” Or moms, when you pick up your child from school one afternoon, what about saying to your child, “You know, honey, we have an hour, so where would you like to go? What would you like to do?” Employers, if you want to dumbfound your employees, then go into their office one afternoon and say to them, “I have noticed you are under a lot of pressure. What can I take off your plate to make your life easier?” That is the essence of humility–giving up your rights, your privileges, and your perks to achieve a greater purpose.

Solomon’s secret to success is this: refuse to honk your own horn. He put it this way in Proverbs 29:23: “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Way Up Is Down” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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