“…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
At a prayer service at a local church an elderly man came forward to the microphone, “I praise God that I don’t have anything to repent of today.” I suppose what he meant was he was not a murderer, an idolater, a thief, or an adulterer. He was not engaged in any of the biggies. (Needless to say, his wife could be heard groaning.)
We like to make spiritual progress. Holiness is the desired state we Christians desire to attain. We surmise that anything less than that is lethal. We fully intend to become outstanding Christian people. However, it seems our righteousness so easily becomes an “achieved commodity.”
We want to be looked up to, to be honorable men and women. Something inside us desires to receive honor from others. We become slowly addicted to “the praise of men.” In time, it’s all we want. Unfortunately it becomes a requirement to become successful “Christians.”
“…for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”
John is describing men who became secret believers, but not open followers. They believed, but they feared the Pharisees and being excommunicated from the Temple. They were “men-pleasers” rather than God-fearers.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”
As a broken believer I must steel myself against the praise of people. I should realize the seductiveness of this, and my desire to please other Christians. Sometimes this blog is a challenge for me; I like to be liked. But all of “this” is for the Lord, and His own glory.
I find I have to make constant adjustments. I have to put to death my flesh repeatedly. I want any praise to be redirected to Him. This mindset needs to be worked over and over in my heart. The hook of man-pleasing digs deep.
It seems that God’s whole employment is to lift up the humble and cast down the proud.