Although it sometimes it may seem like Jesus only had a few people who truly followed Him during His time on earth, that is not entirely accurate. Sure, there were the “crowds”, they weren’t following Jesus for the right reasons. While some were seeking to praise Him and learn from Him and be touched or healed by Him, most were spectators and shouting “Hosanna!” one week and “Crucify Him” just a week later. Jesus had His disciples, who were truly committed, and some close friends who were willing to risk everything to follow Him, but there were others as well. Pharisees.
In John 3, Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus by night to discuss being born again. Much later, after Jesus had died, Nicodemus was there as well, helping prepare His body for burial. In fact, “many of the rulers” believed in Jesus, according to John 12:42. However, “They did not confess Him, lest they be put out of the synagogue for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
The more time you spend in His presence, the easier it is to take His presence with you, and to share the testimony of His greatness to the world- because praise keeps Him ever-present in your spirit.~Alicia Purdy
Of course, true followers of Jesus Christ do not consciously prioritize the praises of men over praising God, but without intentionally pushing aside the opinions, criticisms and scorn of others in order to freely worship the Lord, that is exactly what is happening. We become lost “in the weeds”, busy and distracted and we forget to seek out the Lord first, to wait for His movement while we’re pressure by life to get going. If we don’t live a life built around the praise of God, we’ll become more moved by the praises of men and their approval.
The Praise of Men is a Snare to Your Power in Praise
If you haven’t already experienced this reality, you will at some point: Following Jesus Christ is not popular. In fact, when the world embraces Jesus Christ- that is a red flag that it’s not truly Jesus Christ, the Messiah, they’re embracing! Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, the world therefore hates you.” (John 15:18-19) But this is where it gets hard– we live and operate in the world and we are all confronted with the conflict between our faith and the fallen world. The pressure to stay silent can be intense!
In Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus said, “Whoever will confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father who is in heaven.“ Whose opinion matters more? Nicodemus struggled with the same issues! In your heart you know the Lord is everything to you, but does the world know that? Confessing, testifying and praising God before others will draw stares, comments and maybe worse! Sometimes even from other Christians! But the benefit is this: Jesus Christ grabs hold of your name, and declares it before our Father in heaven! That’s where the real power is! Did “they” rescue you? Answer your prayers? Hear your cry? Comfort you? Provide? NO. Jesus Christ did- and your testimony of what He’s done is the praise breaks the chains!
Thought for today: The Praise of Men Pales in Comparison
Do you ever wonder why it sometimes feels like a struggle to raise your hands when no one else is? Or worship with joy and enthusiasm when everyone else is just staring straight ahead? These are real struggles we all face! It’s because Satan is actively working to disconnect you from the Spirit of God and he’ll use your own fear of other people’s opinions to do it! . That is the essence of the sacrifice of praise. Here is the secret: The more time you spend in His presence, the easier it is to take His presence with you, and to share the testimony of His greatness to the world- because praise keeps Him ever-present in your spirit.
So what if you’re the only one confessing and worshipping God among thousands? Or even among 5 of your friends? Jesus is declaring your name before the Father! Who cares what everyone else thinks? So they put you out of the “synagogue” for worshipping in a manner they aren’t comfortable with, so what? Oh, they’re looking right at YOU…. but so is JESUS!
Stir Up Your Spirit to Praise the Lord and Increase Boldness:
- “5 Deadly Qualities of a Living Sacrifice to God”
- “Boldness is a Spiritual Strength, Not a Natural One”
- “The Benefits of Praising God”
- “7 Ways to Praise God for the Prize”