Journal Jn 12 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Isaiah said these things because he saw his (Jesus’) glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many (even of the authorities) believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue (for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:41-43
Observation: Can I be a disciple and fear man as well?
Analysis: Reading John 12, there was a number of things to write about, and I was tempted to—but I would have been teaching rather than journaling my thoughts and stuff about my life. Plenty to learn—but perhaps I wouldn’t be passing down what I should.
Two things I have struggled with throughout my life: Ambition (or seeking the adulation of man) and/or Fear of Man.
A friend of mine told me a number of times about the fear of man thing. I was leading worship at a former church, and this came up in an after-church discussion. “What did you think?”
Maybe I am not as blatant as the description in the scripture above: “…for they loved the glory that comes from man MORE than the glory that comes from God…” The scripture talks about folks “believing” (and I am using quotes on purpose) but keeping quiet because they did not want to be tossed out of the synagogue. “I like my space on the pew; I like being part of the So and So Committee; I don’t want to alienate my friends, etc.; I am not going to risk that.”
I have seen folks like that.
This phenomenon is especially prevalent when emphasizing/teaching about Biblical Church Worship patterns: stuff like raising hands (just to be simple). From the Bible, it is found that raising hands is instructed, not “suggested”. From the Biblical record, it is the hands in the pocket approach that isn’t worshipful and can almost be described as disrespectful to God.
Note: I don’t mean to be controversial. Quite the contrary, I mean. and am committed to Biblical Orthodoxy.
Back to my struggles: I do “fear man”, I am aware. I don’t know how to overcome it, so I don’t. Maybe, though, I am not alone. Maybe the Holy Spirit speaks to me, so I confess it and repent. And maybe, to practice faithfulness in pursuing Him, the Holy Spirit allows me to repeat it over and over again, throughout all my years—making me humble.
Prayer: Father, I still don’t know how to crack this nut. Maybe it is so ingrained in my sinful nature, that I have to take it to the Cross moment by moment. Yes, I have dreams and a certain ambition—but my conviction is that I must wait upon You and not force the “door” open.
Thank you for helping me to pursue Your Peace and being content only in You.