John 12:43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
Praise from God is what we all should be seeking most. He made each of us, just as we are, with love, for communion with himself. No one could love us more than God does. And when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we know our eternity is forever with God.
So why is it so common for Christians to still seek men’s approval and praise most? It definitely can seem easier. I can see people around me, their expressions, their approval. I hear their encouragement or criticism. Who doesn’t like to see a smile, hear praise, sense admiration? Men’s praise is often immediate and quite gratifying.
Whereas, God’s praise takes time to really appreciate and understand. No one else may even be aware of it. It’s something our hearts know but we don’t necessarily physically see or feel it. God’s praise is extremely valuable. It shows us we are obeying him, walking in his ways, pleasing the one that gives us worth and purpose. And God’s praise won’t be forgotten either. How many awards and words of recognition do you remember from your past? And even if we remember them, does anyone else?
We as people are fickle creatures. One day we admire a person, the next day we may despise him. Often we forget about him or her entirely after a while. When we receive some praise from men, we only want and need more to feed our insecurity and pride.
God is never a fickle. What he says and does is eternal. Yes, he disciplines and chastises us when we need it. But God most desires to bless us, help us accomplish the purposes he has for us and lift us out of the mire so we can walk outstandingly, godly lives that bring him glory. Every decision to obey him, choose his way, sacrifice our own plans for his, is remembered eternally by God. Our decisions to follow God and obey him bless him. We actually impact the Almighty God – that in itself is amazing.
It’s not easy, probably rarely will it be easy, but we will not regret focusing all our efforts on pleasing God. It doesn’t matter that no one else knows it. It’s OK that at times I disappoint others because God’s priorities come first. We can get used to letting the world’s disapproval, mockery and disdain roll right off of us, as also does its fickle praise. When we put praising God first, those around us are the most blessed as well.
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.