Today’s Scripture: Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:42-43

What’s the most important thing in your life? How much money you can make, how nice your house is, or how famous you can become really doesn’t matter. Whenever we put something before God in our lives, it is idolatry. We may not bow down to an image, but when we allow things to creep in and take the place where God should be, it shows our heart is not right.

Even as Christians, we can be motivated by earthly things instead of focusing on God. They may even be good things, but if they become the most important thing in our life, it becomes sin. God deserves our full devotion; He is the only One who can give us purpose and fulfillment.

As Christians, we have the opportunity to serve Him. He paid the price of our sin debt; isn’t that reason enough to live for Him? However, many times we allow what others will think or say to keep us from doing what we should. We are too scared to witness to our neighbors or hand out a gospel tract to the people we meet because we are worried what they will think of us.

We need to realize that pleasing God is the most important thing. Just as some of the chief rulers believed but were afraid to confess Him because of what would happen, we can be guilty of the same behavior. We need to share God’s light with the world, but too often we are willing to hide our light because we are afraid of the reaction we will get. We are often unwilling to share the hope of eternal life because of the fear of rejection.

We must not allow the fear of others to keep us from following the Lord. No matter what we do, some people will not be happy with our decisions. We must keep our focus on God and not what others think. Let’s make sure we are living for the praise of God, not the praise of men.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder