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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

 
Good Success NOVEMBER 13

HONOR FROM GOD OR FROM MAN

How can you have faith so long as you receive honour from one another, and care nothing for the honour that comes from him who alone is God? John 5:44, N.E.B.

In Paul's day men in the Corinthian church gave their loyalty and honor to men. "I am of Paul." "I am of Apollos." "I am of Peter." It is always a serious problem when professed Christians are more attracted to men than they are to Christ, when they are divided in their loyalties, when they engage in competition for the honor and praise of men. Then they prefer the words of men to those of the Bible, and are loyal to a particular church rather than to the truth of Scripture.

The god of this world so easily blinds the eyes of men to the eternal God. Granted that we need all the culture and the learning we can develop. The power of thought, the ability to go to the root of great questions, the mastery of wordsówe can welcome them all. Above all these is the wisdom of God, fully revealed in Christ. In becoming His disciples we honor and give glory to God rather than to men.

Speaking of the Pharisees Christ said, "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43). They preferred the favor of men to the favor of God. Love of recognition runs competition with obedience to Christ when man is the measure of all things. Desire for human favor is not necessarily wrongóit is part of our basic need for acceptance. We are not to be indifferent to personal approval. But it is to be subordinated to the honor of God. To make our object in life to please men and secure their favor rather than to please God is unworthy of its as Christians and is a fatal preference.

The temptation to seek honor from men is close enough to all of us to merit careful consideration. If we are going to be able to live genuine Christian lives we have to come to grips with this question of self-esteem. We all crave approval and shrink from men's poor opinion of its. But of all the factors that determine our standing as Christians, what people say about us is the least important. God's estimate of us is what really matters.

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