In John 12:42-43 it says: Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
Ouch. That stings a bit and bruises the toes.
If you think for a moment about the words you thought you would want to hear others saying about you, are they the same words you would want to hear God using to describe you? I'm sure some of them are, but are they all? And for the ones that aren't, why did they make your list?
We get so many mixed messages into our lives about what success is, what a good person does, how we should prioritize our time, and how many activities we should be involved in. The lists go on and on about the world's standard of accomplishment that says we measure up. But I have yet to see a wordly list that matches God's list.
This morning I wrote out a comparison of human praise versus God's praise.
Human praise is: based on preference, fleeting, inconsistent, variable from person to person, not maintainable, and costly. I say costly, because your soul is worth a lot and that's exactly the price you'll pay to gain the world.
God's praise is: based on truth, consistent, unchanging, attainable, maintainable, and rewarding. I say rewarding, because the fruits of the Spirit are the most valuable gifts we can possibly be given. If you doubt that, think about the last time you couldn't get a sense of peace about something.
It seems to be that God's list is the much better option to pursue. And if we are to get any human praise, it should be for the same reasons God would be praising us. Reasons like having a heart like His, loving others well, reflecting His image to all we encounter.
I will be the first to admit I have sought human praise on many occasions. And there are certain areas I still struggle with it. But if I take a step back and look at why I want it, not a single reason is worth what I am doing to myself to get it. I would much rather have God look at me and use His words of affirmation than have the admiration of fickle hearts with fleeting praise of changing standards. And the best way to hear His words is to simply get alone with Him and let His voice be the loudest, clearest, and most frequent. Afterall, His voice is the only one we should be listening to anyway.
Lord, forgive us for the times we have pursued the praise of others more than we have pursued Your praise. Keep our eyes focused on what you say and help us to become the women You intended from the beginning. We would rather You describe us as worth more than rubies using your scale than have the world praise us. We love you. Amen.