If you accept praise from one another and don’t seek the praise that comes from the one God, you can’t believe me. John 5:44
Abraham had a choice when he returned from the battle with the four kings: accept physical tokens of gratitude from the King of Sodom or look to the Almighty for his prosperity; he chose God. Immediately afterward he professed his confidence to Yahweh, who then proclaimed him righteous. Israel had a choice when they entered the Promised Land: to look to local deities or seek the power of the one who brought them out of Egypt; they forsook Yahweh, who then declared them unrighteous. Jesus had a choice too: He chose to act and speak according to God’s direction, rather than in a way which would bring approving affirmation from men who did not love God. Because Jesus’ contemporaries did not love the invisible and soft-spoken God, they did not seek his affirming acclamation. Instead, they desired praise from other human beings whose presence was more immediately tangible. We only need to hear from one voice. Praise from people, who simply breathe air and whose lives are like vapors, will only die on the wind. But praise from the One who created us will sustain our lives for eternity. Acknowledging and acclaiming Jesus who came to bring us eternal life is the best way to manifest our desire for the praise of the One we value most.
We look forward, O God, to your life-giving affirmation of righteousness as we follow Jesus in the obedience of faith. Amen.