I want to focus on one bit of what I read and hope, in so doing, it makes some sense. I'm in John. I've really enjoyed being in the gospels these past weeks, the differences in writing style and the perspective gained from each disciple has been fascinating. (This is a different post for a different time.) Anyhow, this is what stuck out to me this morning from John chapter 14:
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
A little backstory (condensed, of course) - Jesus had just rose Lazarus from the dead, Mary had poured out her expensive perfume on His feet, He had road into town on a donkey, the people were just shouting and praising His name, He has predicted His death, He has identified who would betray Him and why all of these things were going to happen. Despite all of the things He had done STILL there were those who didn't acknowledge their belief. WHY? Simply, others.
Now work with me here on this. I don't deny my knowledge of Him or the fact I am a Christian. In fact, I'd wager a bet if anyone were to ask me if I was a believer, I'd proudly say yes. HOWEVER..."they loved human praise more than praise from God." Let me change one of those words - "Mandy loved human praise more than praise from God." In this praise seeking lies sin making. You may be wondering how this fits if I'm willing to openly admit I'm a Christian, well, I think it comes down to self. Instead of letting He who is in me be greater, I want to be greater. I want to be noticed for who I am so much more than whose I am on any given day. Why? Because I am afraid I don't matter.
Sure, I can blame this on any number of factors - being ignored as a child - not wanted by my parents, being a burden to some of my family, but most undoubtedly because I am a wallflower. I'm your quintessential nerd. I don't understand anything trendy, anything having to do with pop-culture or even the logistics and implementation of social interaction and the graces therein. I'm a dork. Plain and simple.
What does one DO when this is the substance they form their being from? Well, they strive to BECOME. But in the becoming, I focus less on the whose I should become and force myself to BE what I think others need me to be in order to be liked, to stand out, to be someone or something to someone or something, to have a place, to be acknowledged. Simply put, to be accepted. ..."for they loved human praise more than praise from God."
And, I am tired. All of this has made me tired. I cannot compete with the world and I surely cannot un-be who God designed me to be. I can accept the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and embrace the work He is doing IN me. Will I muck it up from time to time? Oh, you can bet your bottom dollar I will. I am human after all. I was never meant for perfection here on Earth.
With that, while I am certainly not who I want to be and most undoubtedly still being molded into the woman God wants me to be - Praise be only to Him because I am, without a doubt, NOT who I USED to be.
Have a great Tuesday.