No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God. (John 5:44)
Read: 2 Samuel 8:15 – 10:19, 1 Chronicles 6:16-53, 18:14 – 19:19
Relate: There is a very popular preacher and author who has often been misunderstood and taken out of context. One of his strongest gifts is encouragement and motivating people to become all God has called them to be. We, the people of God, have a divine potential that we haven’t even begun to realize and God has called this pastor and others like him to help us begin to live our best life now. He has said and continues to say things like, “You were not created to just get by with an average, unrewarding, or unfulfilled life. God created you to leave your mark on this generation” and “God made us for more than just barely getting by. We weren’t meant to sit on the sidelines of life because with God, we are on the winning team!”
The problem is, some people who I am sure have the best intentions, have taken his message of encouragement and moved the focus away from God and on to themselves. They have taken Biblical, Christ centered promises and God honoring encouragement and turned it into a self-help, me focused, motivational message. They ignore the fact that this preacher has also said, “The main rule to me is to honor God with your life. To life a life of integrity. Not be selfish. You know, help others. But that’s really the essence of the Christian faith.” I firmly believe Joel Osteen would completely agree with me that my best life now would be a life lived in complete surrender to God. After all, if I am following Him, I am destined to be heading up to the top of a few mountains.
React: It is impossible to be a Christian and not give all honor to God. A person can call themselves a Christian all they want, but if they are truly following Christ, He will receive the glory in their lives. For the Western world I believe misplaced honor has become our form of idolatry. The British with their royalty, and Americans with our pop icons: actors, singers, and athletes, are the idols that all too many of us worship. We take our cues for what is good, popular, and hot from what some talking head says these people like, do, and wear. Our fashions are determined by what Kate Upton wore to the Oscars or what Kate Middleton wore in Morocco. Oprah dictates proper philosophy and her backing on a book guarantees its place on the best seller list. It is idolatry and it is all around us. As long as we give the honor that belongs to God alone to others or to ourselves, then we cannot believe God. It is simply not possible.
God, help me to be careful with what I give honor and glory. When I show respect and appreciation to another, help me to do so in a way that would be honoring to You. When I give credit to another for a job well done, help me to do so in a way that ultimately be glorifying You. Help me to avoid the danger of trying to grab glory for myself. It is such an easy trap to fall into, help me to be vigilant against it. Help me to live up to all You have called me to while giving up to You all credit for the victories that You have won for me.
2 thoughts on “John 5:44 (Cannot Believe)”
BJ, you are absolutely right on target with your statements about celebrities and I love Joel–in spite of the constant criticisms of him by others–supposed Christians. God’s truth–through whoever He chooses to use–is always received in my heart. Amen, Amen, and Amen!
We Americans do have our idols and you nailed the top three. Thanks for sharing.