Why Do We Crave to Be Praised?

Here is the answer of the poet Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774), from his poem "The Traveler."

For praise too dearly loved, or warmly sought,
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought;
And the weak soul, within itself unblessed,
Leans for all pleasure on another’s breast.

So close and yet, I fear, so far. For Goldsmith means we are unblessed because we do not bless ourselves.

The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws
Nor weighs the solid worth of self applause.

There is another way to be set free from “praise too dearly loved” and from the power of “shifting fashion.” Our unblessed soul was made for God. Our head was made to rest on his breast. And when it does, we are set free from fashion and the fear of man.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.