“At the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”
~ John 12:42, 43 (NIV)
“For they loved human praise more than praise from God.” This line jumped out at me as I read it. I’m pretty sure the spiritual leaders during Jesus’ time were not the only ones afflicted with such a need for acceptance. Even today, the temptation to “people please” is strong, in many areas in life, including spiritual life. It makes sense really. The people around us, we can see. We can audibly hear their approval, and we feel the weight of their disapproval when we don’t do things in the way they prefer.
We were placed in this world, not by ourselves, but to live in community. It’s alot easier to live with people we agree with. And indeed, we should seek to be in harmony with others.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! ~ Psalm 133:1 NIV
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. ~1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. ~ Ephesians 4:3 NIV
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. ~ Colossians 3:14 NIV
There are many verses in the Bible however that speak out against living to please man, and speak for living entirely for Christ.
Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice. ~ Proverbs 29:26 ESV
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:4 ESV
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” ~ Acts 5:29 ESV
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel… For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. ~Galatians 1:6,10 ESV
God does call us to live in unity with one another. Our higher calling however is to live for Him. Where the two coincide, awesome. That’s easy. But whenever the path separates, we need to always regard God’s will over the will of others.
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” ~Ps. 118:9 (KJV)