In a society where we all want to be rich and famous and the majority of us at some point in our life think it will actually happen, but eventually we succumb to the mind numbing and spirit dropping reality that our name will likely not be in any lights anytime soon.
The bible says in Proverbs 27:21 that our hearts will be tested by the praise we receive from others, similar to that of gold being refined through fire. We all know the feeling ... when we walk a little taller, our chest gets a little puffier, our head a little bigger, and a soothing sensation of a gentle massage to our ego just after someone compliments us or recognizes us for a job well done. "I am the man/woman", we think. We long for that feeling like a drug. We can never get enough.
Yet God tells us that He is trying to use this very experience to refine us. Refine us how? To purify us. To create in us a more valuable and rare material. The material of a pure heart, nobility, humility, good will, compassion, and benevolence. To burn off the vanity, hubris, selfishness, and insecurity. To create in us ... Himself. I am convinced that Jesus was the greatest man that has, or ever will walk the earth, and though he received many applause and adoration from many people (though admittedly there were those that responded differently), he never seemed full of himself. Confident and secure yes. Audacious in His claims to know God perhaps. But not selfish. Not proud. Not vain. In fact just when you think he was going to cave into the vanity of his humanity, he resisted and took the path of humility and servitude (c.f. Lk 4:1-13; Jn 6:15; Phil 2:5-8; etc.), and called others to do the same, calling them to walk in his footsteps.
So the next time we feel that rush of adrenaline that comes from someone's praise of us, we would be wise to temper it with the realization that God is helping us to become like Jesus, more like Himself ... not so that we can have the 15 minutes of fame that we and our culture so desperately long for, but so that we can give fame to the One that truly deserves it.
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."