Seeking the Praises of Man
Are you a people-pleaser?
Do you struggle with living more for the praise and approval of men, more than God?
In my devotional reading this morning, in John 12, I read of highly respected religious leaders of Christ's day struggling with this very problem.
"Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in [Jesus], but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." - v42-43
What does it mean to "love the praise of men more than the praise of God?"
I would include four aspects to this.
When we love the praise of men more than the praise of God, we...
Value man's praise more than God's praise,
Enjoy man's praise more than God's praise,
Pursue man's praise more than God's praise,
Prefer man's praise more than God's praise.
At the root of each of these things is an elevated estimation of man and a diminished estimation of God. This ultimately speaks to our view of God. So many of our spiritual problems are due to a faulty view of God.
We put more weight on man, on the immediate, on the tangible. In so doing, we put little to no weight on on God, on the future, and on the intangible.
Listen to the Puritan Matthew Henry and his comments on this, "Note, love of the praise of men is a very great prejudice to the power and practice of religion and godliness. Many come short of the glory of God by having a regard to the applause of men, and a value for that. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate when religious is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it, as here."
I think every person struggles with this to one degree or another. But we must fight against this by growing in our estimation of God.
Our view of God is crucial in this discussion. The fear of man brings a snare; the fear of God brings blessing.
My friends, if you are struggling with this, then come to the Lord, repent of your sin, and seek God's help in changing your view of him.