“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue, for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
John 12:42-43 (NIV)
John writes of leaders who secretly believed in the Master’s teachings. These men feared being cast out of the Hebrew house of worship. He makes a bold statement about the reason these men were quiet about their thoughts “for they loved praise from men more than from God.”
Are we in the 21st Century very different from the leaders who believed in Jesus but chose not to share their beliefs with those around them? I think not.
I remember hearing a story about a young man who found the Lord just prior to going away to college. When he came back to church over a school break, someone asked him how his friends on campus responded to his mew faith. He hung his head and said, “They don’t know of my faith.”
Does everyone who knows us know of our faith? A church friend of mine has a burden for a neighbor who is very seriously ill. As my friend prayed for guidance on how to reach this neighbor and her family, she received a two word answer—‘Live it.”
This answer applies to each of us. We can say all we want to about Jesus and about God but, unless our neighbors see our faith lived out, we are ‘spinning our wheels’ and getting nowhere.
When we confess our faith before others, we also do it before God. If we keep our faith to ourselves we impede the growth of God’s kingdom. In my young adult years, a person who kept his or her status quiet was thought of as fence-sitters—never really taking a stand for the Lord.
Dear Father God:
Please give us the strength and the courage to stand for you in this broken world. Teach us to long for Your praise. Guide us to demonstrate Your love for others as we go through our daily walk. All praise belongs to You. I ask this out of Your grace and love. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. AMEN