Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion. [Therefore] if riches increase, do not set your heart on them. Power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. – Psalm 62:9-12 abridged (NRSV)  

Popularity is the sweet dessert of ego’s delusion. It’s the icing on the cake of pride. It’s the sweet lie we gobble up when we believe that numbers reflect our inherent value. 

Numbers like political polls, Facebook likes, and church size. Numbers like social media follows, public accolades, and credit scores. The higher the numbers, the higher our value in the world. The more votes we receive, the more popularity we have, the more power we believe ourselves to control. 

But feeding our sweet tooth for popularity is never good for us. The sugar rush of ego’s delusion tends to be accompanied by a whole menu of unhealthy dishes: like a salad of dissatisfaction, overly dressed in self-defense; like a main course heaped with the protein of pride and an overcooked side of suspicion; like a few cocktails of impatience. Focused only on the dessert of “high estate,” our hearts crave ever-higher tiers of treats. 

That our love of popularity so easily inflates our sense of self-worth is just the [chef’s kiss] of ego’s delusions.  

That our adoration of others’ popularity leads us to shower them with power is the coup d’état of sugary faithlessness.  

That I love my own tasty nibbles of popularity, that I feed the same cake to others or (regrettably more often) resent those who dine on it, is a quick recipe for sin. 

Popularity doesn’t measure inherent value and God-given worth. Polls and crowds don’t measure steadfast love, in which the holiest power is found. 

To the Most High, I confess: Yours is the honor, mine is the craving. Yours is the power, mine is the sweet tooth.

also published through the Daily Devotional

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