Monday, March 28, 2011

Fear and Idols

Excerpt from Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey:

We're pursuers -- we go after things we value... We chase what we love. There's something in the way we're wired. Be it books, Broadway, or Botox, we pursue what we value... This impulse is so big, it can determine how we respond to Jesus Himself.

A Story of Glory
John 12 gives us a window into how this human hardwiring works--this impulse to pursue what we value. After Jesus arrives for the final time in Jerusalem, the scene that quickly unfolds is pivotal in the drama of redemption. He's the center of attention -- everybody's attention.
In the middle of it all, Jesus prays, 'Father, glorify your name." Immediately, a response booms out. 'Then a voice came from heaven: 'I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again' (v. 28).
A voice from heaven! When was the last time you heard someone's prayers get answered at once with the audible voice of God? (never!)
One would expect this episode would permanently turn all the bystanders into Christ followers, right?
Not exactly.
John goes on to tell us something shocking: 'Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe him.' (v.37). Surprised to hear that people could be with him--hear God speak to him--and still not believe? It gets worse. There were others who did believe, yet still wouldn't follow. 'Many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it.' (v. 42)...
How come? What was so important that they could look straight at the Son of God and turn away?
John says it was 'for fear of the Pharisees...
But here's the grabber. In the very next sentence God restrains our instinctive sympathy for these guys by flipping the light on their true motives. Why the hypocrisy? Was it something they feared? Yes, at first glance.
But deep inside it was really somehting they loved.
'They loved the glory that comes from man,' John writes, 'more than the glory that comes from God" (v.43).
Glory. They craved it. They were addicted to it. Their drive was so powerful, it diverted them from the Son of God himself.
Wow. Convicting! What's the answer? Stay tuned.

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