Our verse for today comes from John 12:43, ” For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. “
This weekend is the dance recital for the studio where my four daughters dance. And so, in final preparation for the big event, all of the classes have been practicing multiple times for several hours each night this week at the college auditorium where the recital will take place.
The studio teaches kids as young as three and offers classes all the way through high school. And as this mix of young and extremely young crosses paths, one will commonly see what I did last night. My nine-year-old and her buddy were in the lobby, performing a sort of impromptu presentation for the several teenagers who were hanging out on the benches, polishing off some snacks and resting up for their next session on stage. And though I watched them only briefly, the thrill in my daughter’s face was plainly evident as the older kids afforded them even the slightest bit of attention and interest.
What is it about the praise of others that so delights and bewitches us? Why do I (am I the only one?) find myself in a meeting, a group discussion, or even a church sanctuary, hoping that my name will be proclaimed for something I had done or contributed? What is it about that five seconds that carries unparalleled effect? What is missing within me that something so elementary as hearing my name can seem to offer almost supernatural outcomes?
Egos are big, powerful, hungry things. And their appetite is insatiable. So much so that Jesus explained that feeding our ego can prevent us from believing the Savior. For in Christ, there is a fundamental call to die to self. In Christ, there is only room for the praise of One. And that is difficult, unnatural, and elusive for a person who has relished on temporary elations and passing exaltations. God offers praise for us, but only as we offer faith in His Son. As we declare and express and live out our faith in Jesus, God notes that as praiseworthy. And it is that focus on Christ which slays our ego and exalts our Savior.
As we seek Him today, let your faith in Jesus change your appetite for what you want to hear, about yourself and about Him.