A Crow, having stolen a bit of meat, sat in a tree and held it in her beak. A hungry Fox, seeing this, envied the crow and wished to have the meat for himself. So he came up with a cunning plan.
“How gracious you are,” he exclaimed, “how beautifully your feathers shine! Oh, if only your voice were equal to your beauty, you would deserve to be called the Queen of Birds!”
The Crow was really flattered by these words, so, anxious to be called the Queen of Birds, she gave a loud caw and dropped the meat. The Fox quickly picked it up, and thus addressed the Crow:
“My dear Crow, you have a nice voice, indeed, but I’m afraid you have no wits.”
The moral of this story is, do not trust flatterers. They often have ulterior motives. This can even happen in the church. In Romans 16:17-19 we read, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”
To keep from being spiritually deceived, you need to be wise, not naive. You also need to be confident in who you are in Christ. If you are, you will be less likely to need the praise of others who may just be buttering you up so they can take advantage of you.