S: For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. John 12:43 (NLT)
O: Their identity was found in what others thought of them, not in what God thought or said about them. Fear of losing man’s acceptance kept them from experiencing the full acceptance of God through Jesus.
A: It’s a lot of work striving to satisfy the demands and expectations of people, and let’s be honest, they are a rather fickle bunch. What scratched their itch today probably won’t do the same tomorrow. You are always having to stay one step ahead, anticipating what they want, so you can be that for them. It’s exhausting.
When you are more concerned about winning over the heart of the crowd than following after God’s, you are walking a tightrope that can give out at any time. It’s a dangerous path that leaves you on edge and unsatisfied.
But following after Jesus does the opposite. It’s this crazy way of living where you lay your life down for others – you put others first before yourself – and you’re the one satisfied! By receiving the grace and love of God, you can only freely give it away. One, because you know Who to turn to, and two, because you know you can’t earn any of it.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)
When you understand that Jesus paid it all – Jesus did the work so you could be accepted – you are finally set free from the drive of performance and the striving for man’s admiration.
There is no striving with God.
No, there is only a drawing. A drawing into His love, grace, forgiveness and acceptance. A drawing in that brings peace and rest for your weary soul.
Your Father says to you, “No more striving. Let me tell You what I have to say about you – who I see you to be. Who I made you to be. Come close to me, and let me teach you who you are. Let go of what the world demands of you, and allow me to show you a new way to live. A new way to love.”
P: Oh God, I long to desire Your praise above all else. Burn off anything in me that wants man’s admiration above yours. Forgive me when I seek applause and words of admiration – for I know my identity is really only found in what You have to say about me. I know my worth comes from the work Jesus does through me. I’m tired of striving.
I love You, Lord. Please keep working in my heart.
Photo by Juliano Ferreira