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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Keeping Spirituality Alive SEPTEMBER 22


For they valued their reputation with men rather than the honour which comes from God. John 12:43, N.E.B.

The Pharisees were probably close to being convinced at tithes than Jesus was the Messiah. But they did not like His type. To espouse His cause would degrade them from their honorable status. They were not prepared to make this kind of sacrifice. Their pride and jealousy refused to receive evidence and listen to arguments that He could be the Messiah. They finally expressed themselves in hostility by planning His crucifixion.

There is nothing wrong with valuing our reputation among men. We should have a good reputation. What is wrong is loving it more than desiring the praise of God. Desire for human favor is not necessarily wrong. We are not required to be indifferent to personal approval. Christ did not seek honor from men, yet the Scripture says of Him, "Reproach hath broken my heart" (Ps. 69:20).

Neither is it desirable to have a lofty indifference to men. Our desire to win men to Christ is right. But to subordinate ourselves to their influence and favor is unworthy of us as Christians. There is probably no tendency in which we are more liable to indulge than this: the peril of adopting the will and pressure of men as our rule of life, to refer our conduct to men as the court of final appeal. Their sanctions control our motives and our conduct. This is a form of idolatry.

Pilate, rather than lose his place and standing with men, delivered the Lord Jesus Christ to be crucified. The extent of sins and denial of the truth to which the love of human favor and the worship of human idols lead men is enormous. Thousands of people who have been convicted of the truth are held back from accepting it because of what other people think. How many convictions by the Holy Spirit to obey the truth are thus silenced? How many minds are induced to resist the gospel and deny our Lord? He who seeks to please men rather than God submits to a multitude of lords, all sinful, weak mortals.

We must reckon it a small thing to be judged by man's judgment in comparison with God's judgment and His favor toward us.

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