Friday, 5 October 2018

God’s praise and why it matters

God’s praise and why it matters

"I do not accept praise from men,” John 5:41 NIV

For some time now, this clear statement of Jesus has got me thinking. It has made me to have a deep reflection on what goes on in the secret places of my own heart and what should drive my life. Something inside of us craves for the praise of men. We want to be appreciated. We want approval and admiration from people around us. But from Jesus’ statement, it is obvious that wanting or seeking for the praise of men is a weakness instead of strength. In as much as it is recommended for us to show appreciation, we are not encouraged to seek for appreciation. Jesus said in our passage above that He did not accept praise from men; even when they offered it willingly to Him.

Now let us look at why Jesus did not accept men’s praise and why we should not focus our lives on them.
  •  Men’s praise can be short-sighted and blind because of man’s limitations and weakness. Our secret lives can be hid from their eyes. Our motives can be covered. Man, by nature is limited, therefore, the praise that man gives to us carries that weakness of limitation.
  • Men’s praise can be insincere and hypocritical. When they want to exploit you or to have their way. That a man sings your praise does not mean that he loves you or that he means what he is saying. 
  • Men’s praises can be deceiving because they are not accurate. They can give us a false image of ourselves. This is a very important reason why we should not depend our lives on men praise. What men are telling you may not necessarily be a true reflection of you.
  • Men’s praise can make us lose our heavenly rewards. In Matt.6., Jesus commanded us not to accept men’s praise when we do good deeds, otherwise, we will not get any heavenly reward. It therefore means that we must always stop men when they start this praise songs if we do not want to be empty-handed in heaven. This is one reason why I personally advocate for secret giving.
  •  Men’s praise can make us not to accept God’s estimate of us. Men’s praise can soothe our hearts and we say that all is well when actually all is not well. God’s estimate of you is what matters when you stand before Him and not what any man has got to say. Jesus focused His life on what the Father wanted; and so must we.
  • Men’s praise can set us up against God because it feeds the flesh. Men’s praise can make our heads to swell up. We are to push every praise that men give to us back to God who alone is worthy of all praises. When the flesh is fed, it grows big and makes us not to act in spiritual ways. The flesh will definitely meddle with the praise that is due God, which in itself can be very dangerous, hence do not accept at all. Look at what happened to Herod in Acts 12:18-24.
  • When the mirror through which you see yourself is the opinions of men, the praise of men and their estimation of you, you can be very sure that the mirror is a broken mirror with distorted images of you. You can be several times wrong.

Why do God’s praise matter?
  1. His praise brings fulfillment, wholeness, comfort and real validation. In as much as it is good for husbands and wives to appreciate one another as a way to encourage good needs, you will be a very unfulfilled person in this world if you depend your life on the praise of your partner. The Master’s well done is enough and guarantees sharing in His happiness. In Matt.25: 19-21 and as a matter of fact in many other parables of the kingdom, the commendation of the Master is what matters in determining the final destiny of the servants.
  2. His opinion, estimate is the correct opinion. The truth about you and your circumstances can only be defined by God. Only He can tell who you are and what you are, your worth and your value. It doesn’t matter the opinions of others.
  3. He is both the King and the Judge. His opinion is the only opinion that will survive both for now and for eternity when all other opinions become irrelevant. He is a major witness in His court. His testimony / witness is weightier than any other. The Father’s testimony mattered to Jesus. John 5: 34-44.

If God’s praise matter, then what?
  1.        We will obey Him because He alone matters.
  2.        We will focus on our lives purpose and assignment on Him because He has the final say.
  3.        We will be men driven by conviction because His opinion alone matters.
  4.        We will prepare ourselves for meeting with Him because His judgment matters.