I think just about everyone loves a pat on the back for a job well done! Affirmation when we do the right thing is such a bolster to the ego. Praises from others provides acceptance and assurance. The more praise we receive, the greater our confidence to pursue higher achievements.
It is no secret that praise is a great motivator. Putting forth our best effort is taught in the Bible. Consider Colossians 3:23: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”(KJV)
Yet, the devil has taught us a lie. That is, earning the praises of man is far better and somewhat easier than earning God’s praise. If we live by our own standards, we will certainly meet our expectations for success. However, we may find we have lost the approval of our LORD.
When Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, we would have assumed people who witnessed this miracle would have rejoiced and given thanks. Instead, the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus because in their eyes, He had broken the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy.
They believed they were justified in their desire to kill Him, for the LORD told Moses, “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 31:15)
Much discussion followed as Jesus explained He was sent by God to do His work. Jesus even explained He was God’s Son, carrying out the will of the Father. His comments further inflamed their wrath, because to them, Jesus was trying to make Himself equal with God.
Even though they knew the teachings of Moses and the Prophets, they missed the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, God’s Son. Their minds were closed to the possibility that God would allow healing on the Sabbath.
Instead of rejoicing in His miracles, they chose to find fault. They were not going to honor Him as God’s Son, nor would they honor the miraculous healing He did. Their blindness kept them from believing in Jesus and lost them God’s approval.
Jesus wrote a very interesting comment as recorded in John 5:44, “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?”
With these words, Jesus admonished the Jewish leaders. They feared if they agreed with Jesus, they would be thrown out of the Temple, no longer allowed to worship there. Their desire to appear righteous in the eyes of others overshadowed any desire to please God.
There is an important lesson in this account of the Sabbath healing of the lame man. We often believe when the majority is in agreement and is accepting of something, whatever it is, it must be right. People are frequently misled by what is said by people of influence.
Let us be reminded the crowd mentality exerts a great deal of influence over the individual, not necessarily in a good way.
“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43
Our praise must come from our LORD. His opinion is what counts. If we are righteous in His eyes, and our works are pleasing to Him, then we will have the praise and affirmation we seek.
Copyright © 2012 Linda Hull, Words of Encouragement