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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

The 21 Day Experiment - Day 12: The Praise That Matters Most

by Marilynn Chadwick

For they loved human praise more than praise from God. John 12:43 (NIV)

Who doesn't like to be affirmed? I know I do. And I have yet to meet a child who doesn't respond better to praise than criticism. But the desire for praise can be a liability when it comes to our faith. My commitment to follow Jesus often brings me face-to-face with a hard choice. Will I speak and act in ways that win praise from people or from God? Sometimes, it's impossible to have the respect and admiration of both.

Praise comes from the Greek word doxa, which means "honor, respect, prestige, fame, or approval." In John 12, we see that despite the controversy surrounding Jesus, many religious leaders had come to believe in him. But they wouldn't openly acknowledge their faith to the religious "in-crowd," for fear they would be put out of the synagogue (v. 42).

The next verse challenges me to take a look at my own motives. It’s my watchword today:“For they loved human praise more than praise from God” (v. 43). The Message Bible paraphrases the same verse this way: “When push came to shove, they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.”

Ouch! Any approval-addicts out there? Ask yourself this question: “Do I say or do things that make me look good in the eyes of those around me or in the eyes of God?”

Some time ago, I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to approach the topic of abortion with a friend. She’s intelligent and has strong opinions—but we have very different views on this volatile subject. So, I prayed and took a step. I shared with her how my beliefs about the sanctity of life are grounded in the Bible. Jesus is called "the author of life" (Acts 3:15). Since we didn't create life, I explained, I don't believe we have the right to take life—even in the womb.

She listened and paused to think about what I had shared. Silently, I continued to pray. I sensed the Lord’s presence. The conversation did not turn hostile, but my words carried some risk. I think doors were quietly opened to further conversations with her about my faith in Jesus and my belief in God’s Word.

I am praying right now for those of you following along in the 21 Day Experiment. Perhaps the Lord will give you the courage today to speak truth in love. I pray he is putting someone on your heart right at this very moment. I pray for open doors, and for you to have the right words. May the Holy Spirit be present in a powerful way. And may you hear the quiet whisper of his approval—the best kind of praise of all!

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