In John 12:42-43, we find an interesting observance. Several chief Jewish rulers believed in Christ, but they feared that the Pharisees would put them out of the synagogue if they confessed Him. Unfortunately, they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Let’s look at those Scriptures.
42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;
43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
This passage of Scripture points out a real problem for some people that exists today. Many people admire Holiness. They know that Holiness is still right, and they secretly desire to have a real relationship with God. When they look upon those of us who love God and live for Him daily, they secretly wish that they could have the same relationship with God. What is their problem, you might ask? Why is it that they will not just turn their backs on the world, their friends, and their ungodly lifestyle? The answer is the same for them that existed for the Jewish rulers of John 12:43. They desire the praises of men more than the praises of God. When confronted with that truth, the majority would deny it, but that is indeed the basis of their problem.
Let me share the story of a young woman who faced such a dilemma. I will call her Betty Jean, which, of course, was not her real name.
Betty Jean (BJ) was raised in a home with her siblings by her grandparents. Her grandmother took her to church, but it was not in her heart as it should have been. When she went away to college, she would often attend church, but it was not something that she felt compelled to do. BJ graduated from college, married her childhood sweetheart, and for the first seven years of their lives, life was good. They occasionally attended church, their finances were in order, and they could afford some of the more excellent things of life. But then something began to happen in the heart of BJ.
BJ began to become sad, and a fear of death gripped her. Despite all that her husband attempted to do for her, she was depressed. While sitting in a nice upscale restaurant, the tears would flow. While on road trips, she was unhappy. Simultaneously, a longing began in her heart that she could not put her finger on. She knew that she needed something else and thought that her need might be spiritual. So, BJ began to go to Bible studies and different churches, looking to answer the longing of her heart. She felt that something out there was vital for her to find, but she didn’t know what it was. She felt that if she could get into the right church, she would know it instantly.
One of BJ’s best friends and her friend’s husband met a young couple that attended a Holiness church. Her friends went and were baptized with the Holy Ghost. Her friend returned to BJ and excitedly told her about finding that which they both had been seeking.
BJ went to the Holiness church with her friend and instantly knew that this was the answer to her heart’s longing. Unfortunately, BJ was faced with two major dilemmas.
The first problem that BJ faced was her own husband’s attitude. He had found a church for them and did not want her to leave the church that he had chosen. Although he was an alcoholic who would club on Saturday night and stand as an usher on Sunday morning, he insisted that BJ attend with him. The other dilemma that BJ had was her job. The Holiness church that BJ longed to participate in had requirements according to the Scriptures that meant that she would no longer wear makeup, pants, or drink alcohol. Her friends and co-workers would find this behavior “strange” and would not understand. They would no longer see her as a peer but as “weird.” And yet BJ knew that God was calling her to a life of Holiness.
As BJ knelt in prayer one night, she told God that she was willing to do whatever was necessary to have the real relationship with Him that she desired. When she read Heb. 11: 24-26, she related to it.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
God solved BJ’s dilemma for her. When her husband realized that she was determined to live a holy life, he said that he did not want a wife who had changed in the ways that she had. He put her out of their house and divorced her. Her co-workers also ostracized her and held a secret meeting about her. She was no longer a part of the in-crowd.
But BJ had found that her soul loveth. No matter what others thought of her, her mind was made up. She was willing to give up the things of the world to gain Christ.
BJ joyfully followed the leading of the Lord, was baptized in the Holy Ghost and, despite the things that she had to go through, chose Christ. Of course, God has given her far more than she gave up. BJ is today an Evangelist for the Lord, a Christian writer, and she is married to a wonderfully saved husband. There is no doubt in her mind that she made the best decision of her lifetime.
There will come a time in every man and woman’s life when they will be offered an opportunity to choose Christ. The Bible says in Titus 2:1 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.
Each individual must decide whether what God thinks of him is more important than what man thinks of him. Each will be offered an opportunity to get his priorities straight and make the best decision as it applies to his eternal future. This story, by the way, is my own personal testimony. I am the BJ who made the right decision. It is my prayer that when you receive your opportunity, you will choose Christ. Please, get your priorities straight.
Let us pray. Dear Heavenly Father, it is my prayer that each person who is offered Christ will value the opportunity to choose wisely. I pray that he or she will make the best decision and choose Christ, for it is the decision that will determine their eternal future. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.