I’m struggling to focus and be disciplined as I type this blog post. Last week I decided to write about photography related things because I was honestly unsure about what God was teaching me. I’m sure it was a result of me getting lazy in my spiritual disciplines and not taking time to be still and listen/speak to Him. This week has been such a breath of fresh air spiritually.
I have been reading through the book of John for almost 2 months now. This past week I was on chapter 12 where Jesus has made it known through the different signs, miracles, parables, and sermons that He is the Son of God, but He has not yet been taken to be crucified. The Pharisees are very nervous and angry at Jesus for claiming to be God and are uncomfortable at how many people are following Him; and the people who do believe in Him are afraid to say so because of fear of the Pharisees. It’s just an awkward time for everyone all around in chapter 12.
Following Jesus during this time was a very controversial decision. If you decided to not follow Jesus then you would be pleasing the authorities and many people around you, but you would be forsaking the person you believed to be the Son of God. In contrast, if you followed Jesus then you would bear the anger of all the authority figures, possibly suffer physical harm, and be a social outcast. It’s easy for me to look at the people in John 12 and think it is an OBVIOUS decision to follow Jesus. Yet, as I read the response of the people during this time I was deeply convicted. Here is how the people who believed in Him during this time reacted when they were faced with standing up for Jesus or falling into the pressures of society:
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” (John 12:43)
What a sad and weighty response from the people during this time. Although they believed in Jesus, they did not stand up for Him out of fear of man’s approval. It’s easy for me to read this text and see how foolish their decision was, but in all honesty, I know I would have probably done the same. Even as a believer now, I’m still guilty of falling into the trap of desiring man’s approval above God’s. As I sat on this verse I thought about the ways I try and please man instead of listening to the truths of God.
It was so eye-opening how many lies I have been believing. Here are a few that immediately came to my mind:
- You must travel before you have babies.
- You wasted your time in college if you don’t make a ton of money.
-Your house needs to be decorated in a cute way so others will like it.
-You must listen to what your family members say even if you don’t have a peace about it.
- Having rest time is selfish, you didn’t work hard enough during the week.
- You must say ‘yes’ to doing favors people ask to please that person and make them like you.
- You need to dress a certain way and buy new things so others will think you look cool.
- Having more followers on Instagram will make you feel more accepted and loved.
How silly are these lies I believe!? As I type them out I wonder how I could even believe them so often. Satan knows our weaknesses, and getting us to please man over God is a very real temptation in my life and a sticky web to get caught in.
This past weekend as Jesse and I were going to Nashville to celebrate Valentine’s Day I was picking out my outfit for the day. I don’t know why, but when I go to Nashville I want to fit in and wear something “cool”, but as I was choosing something to wear I automatically thought of the verse in John about not pleasing man and thought to myself, “Wait, why am I trying to impress people I don’t even know? God does not care if I’m wearing something trendy. Jesse doesn’t either. If I were to choose my outfit based off modesty and comfort, what would I wear?” The point of this is not to say you can’t dress trendy, but it’s to point out how by default my mind goes to please man first and not think about what God thinks of me; even with something as minutiae as what to wear for the day.
Although John 12 was a very convicting passage for me, I’m SO thankful God showed me this area of weakness in my life. It is a daily battle for me to love the glory that comes from GOD instead of the glory that comes from MAN. We are so bombarded in our society with pressures to fit in and tons of advertisement on social media to buy SO much stuff. We don’t need new stuff. We don’t need more followers. We don’t need to travel more. We don’t need more money. We NEED to find contentment in CHRIST. I am seriously preaching to myself right now. It is my true desire to find everything I need in Jesus, but I must daily battle the lies Satan throws at me.
If you struggle with this to, just know, you’re not alone. If you’re a believer in Jesus your sin has been dealt with, but we still must fight every day. The only way to see and battle our sin is to focus on Christ, confess in prayer what we’re struggling with, and cling to His strength and not our own. The only way I will overcome the lies is by listening to God whisper his truths in my heart and truly believing them.
I hope this post helped someone reading it and just know, the approval of man will never satisfy you! If you truly believe and follow Jesus, you are more loved and accepted than you can even comprehend.
Happy Thursday! :)