John 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
This verse hits me squarely between the eyes. People were believing and knew what was right but were embarrassed to take a stand for Jesus. He sums it up rather succinctly. He says that the problem is that they love the praise of men more than the praise of God.
This made me think of my ministry and many things that I do and have done over the years. How many things do I do to fit in among my brethren? How many times do I try to impress my lost friends and have them like me? Since I know that they do not like Jesus, the Bible, and Holy living how often do I try to live right on the edge when I spend time with them or talk to them.
As a pastor and missionary I ask myself today how many times I try to impress others instead of the Lord. I want the pastors to like me. I want church members to like me. I want to build a church that will get the praise of men.
I feel like I am very guilty of doing things for myself or for others. I want to preach and impress everyone. I want them to like me, what I said, the way I said it. I hunger to be acknowledged and respected.
This was the problem that these early believers were facing. Jesus said that what lost men thought was more important to them that what God Himself thought. I am ashamed but I am afraid that is also true of me.
Someone said that we should preach, pray, and live for an audience of One! There is only one person that we should try to impress. That is so true. I have failed miserably in that.
Over the years I have come to realize that they are never going to really like me anyway. I have found that they will not be impressed no matter what I do. I have found that they can not reward me for what I do.
Only God can! So it is time that I preach, pray, and live for Him and what He wants. Could any of this in the slightest way be a problem for you?
Could it be that you too are worried about what the wrong people think? Let’s live to impress a party of One!