Who doesn’t like to be affirmed? I know I do. And I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t respond better to praise than criticism. But the desire for praise can sometimes be a liability when it comes to our faith.
My commitment to follow Jesus sometimes brings me face-to-face with a choice. Will I speak and act in ways that win praise from people or from God? Sometimes, it’s impossible to have the respect and admiration of both.
Praise comes from the Greek word doxa, which means “honor, respect, prestige, fame, or approval.”
In John 12, we see that despite the controversy surrounding Jesus, many religious leaders had come to believe in Him. But they wouldn’t openly acknowledge their faith to the religious “in-crowd,” for fear they would be put out of the synagogue (John 12:42).
The next verse challenges me to take a look at my motives. It’s my watchword today:
They loved human praise more than praise from God (John 12:43). The Message Bible puts it this way: When push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.
Ouch! Any approval-addicts out there? Do I say or do things that make me look good in the eyes of those around me or in the eyes of God?
Some time ago, I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to approach the topic of abortion with a good friend. She’s intelligent and has strong opinions—but we have very different views on this volatile subject.
So I prayed and took the risk. I shared with her how my beliefs about the sanctity of life are grounded in the Bible. Jesus is called “the author of life” (Acts 3:15). Since we didn’t create life, I explained, I don’t believe we have the right to take life…even in the womb.
She listened and paused to think about what I had shared. Silently, I continued to pray. I sensed the Lord’s presence—the conversation did not turn hostile. What’s more, doors were quietly opened to further conversations with her about my faith. God is truly at work!
Prayer: I pray for those of you following along in the 21 Day Experiment. I sense the Lord is giving someone the courage to speak truth in love today. He is putting someone on your heart right at this very moment. I pray for open doors…and for just the right words. May the Holy Spirit be present in a powerful way! And may you hear the quiet whisper of His approval—the best kind of praise of all!