The Praise That Comes From God
The Pharisees were known for their desire to see the kingdom of God come with power. They believed that if God saw the zeal of their piety and the seriousness of their purity, he would conquer their enemies and bring his kingdom on earth. But when Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey, proclaiming that the kingdom and rule of God had now arrived through him, the sincerity of their desire was put to the test. Some of the leaders of the people believed in Jesus and his message, but because the majority of the Pharisees hated him, they were afraid to admit their faith in him. John tells us that their desire for the acceptance and praise of men overrode their desire for the praise of God.
A desire for the praise of men kept these leaders from experiencing God’s kingdom, the very thing for which they had been hoping. They preferred to keep their positions of leadership and power rather than see Jesus crowned as king. Does a desire for the praise and recognition of other people keep you from gaining God’s praise and experiencing the power of his kingdom in your life?
When a runner competes in the 500-yard dash, he is too tired to run in another race. Likewise, when a man runs after the praise of men, he can’t also devote his focus and energy to gaining the glory of God. Which race are you running? “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).
If you run after men’s admiration, you’ll miss the praise of God.