I keep returning to this verse:
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed 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
and now I know why.
Have you ever felt a faith-rooted challenge? Seriously, have you ever faced a circumstance when before doing something, or saying something, you knew your beliefs were being challenged? Have you ever received too much change back from a cashier and pondered if you should return the surplus amount? Have you ever heard a discriminatory joke and everyone around you laughed? Has a supervisor ever asked you to forge numbers on a report? Have you ever been tempted to gossip? What did you do? How does your response measure up when compared to what you say you believe? Do you love praise from men more than you love praise from God? More so, do you fear men more? It’s ok. Be honest with yourself. The Christian…challenged.
As I type this, I know that I am being challenged to spiritually grow. In time I will write more about that, but for now this is what I will say: I was hurt. I have been healed. I must help. To remain in my comfort zone would be selfish. I know what is in me is meant to be shared. Am I alone? Are you letting hurt hinder you from reaching your full potential? Has your naiveté about people affected your trust in God’s word? You are not alone. Many Christians are consciously opting to play it safe because of this manifestation of angst. Fear has a funny way of containing people–Christian people–in that way. Even leaders–YES, Christian leaders–are faced with this controlling agent.
It is easy to get loss in the crowd’s mediocrity—to be silent when God is urging you to speak, to go along to get along, to be ordinary and deny the extraordinary creation of that which you are. It is easy…until it isn’t.
As you evaluate your life ask yourself, “Am I being led by man or by God?” This is an important question. Everyone has an audience. Someone, somewhere is always watching you–judging you—making observations about you. Do they see the God who you say you believe or the man of whom you are afraid?
You have been challenged.