Are we seeking to please people or God?
The apostle Paul writes in Galatians 1:10, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God?" He writes this in context of his defense of his apostleship (authority in being sent by Jesus) and a re-proclamation of his gospel (given to him by revelation from Jesus - see Galatians 1:12).
Since we are in the midst of an election season in America, now might be a good time to take stock on this question. We must search our own hearts and consider: "Are we seeking to please people or God?"
(Read John 12:20-50)
Jesus is the eternal Son of God who took on flesh. He is God in human form. In these verses, He describes Himself as "the light" (see verses 35-36, 46) and instructs us, "Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light."
Following this admonition, the gospel writer John, refers us to the failure of some to believe in Jesus (v. 37). He quotes the prophet Isaiah and shows that people's unbelief actually fulfills these prophecies.
Then John turns his attention to Jewish leaders who did believe in Jesus, but "would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God."
Is that us? Do we refuse to confess our faith because of fear? Do we love praise from people more than praise from God?
These are not easy questions, and they do not yield easy answers. Sometimes fear causes us to conform to the group's consensus because it is easier than "going against the grain". And this happens on both sides of the aisle. In conservative circles, there is pressure to conform to the consensus regarding what is perceived as liberal agendas. And in liberal circles, there is often equal pressure to conform to the consensus regarding what is perceived as conservative agendas. But what if God is calling us to say something that needs to be said, or to confess something that needs to be confessed?
No conservative and no liberal is completely right in everything they say. Each of us needs to be able to hear challenges from the other side. The Holy Spirit often places us in situations to give testimony to Jesus and His glory, and like the Jewish leaders in John's gospel we are called to speak up.
So what about us? Will we be willing to speak up? Will we put our trust in the light so that we may become sons of light? Or do we love praise from people more than praise from God? What are some of your thoughts?