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Daily Reading: 2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33 ESV, Romans 16:10-27 ESV, Psalm 26:1-12 ESV, Proverbs 20:19 ESV

Daily Verse: “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Romans 17:18 ESV)

EULOGIA (2292 + 3306): Blessing, praise, thanksgiving, the extolling of another; in some contexts, excessive praise is improper: flattery; by extension, generosity and (giving of) gifts.”[i]

Excessive praise.

Paul warns believers about smooth talkers.  People who know the right thing to say to get what they want.  A salesperson trying to meet his quota will say anything to get you to buy his product.  False teachers try to fill your ears with empty words and lead you astray.

Becoming more self-aware happens when you follow Jesus.  Because we confess our sinful nature to Christ, we know our weaknesses.  When God exams our hearts, He exposes our vulnerabilities and helps us see ourselves more clearly.  By knowing ourselves, we can identify the manipulators in our life and avoid their company.

Choose wisely.

Select the people you surround yourself with to grow your relationship with Jesus. Identify the friends in your life who tell you the truth.  Instead of people telling you what you want to hear, develop relationships with people who tell you what you need to hear.

My friend Lori and I met in elementary school, if not sooner.  I can’t remember not knowing her.  She tells me the truth.  When unsure of something, I call her because she will tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.

I also have friends who tell me what I want to hear; I take their words with a grain of salt.  Our relationships remain surface because they don’t speak the truth.  Their flattery falls on deaf ears.

Developing a network of friends who encourage and uplift you on the journey takes prayerful intent.  Allowing Jesus to work in your life will expose the false teachers who only flatter you with empty words. Live for the applause of one.  Seek God’s praise as you live your life for Him.

[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (pp. 113 & 160) Thomas Nelson

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