Posts Tagged ‘D.A. Carson’



January 9, 2013

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”  John 5:44

2012 BCS National Championship Game

2012 BCS National Championship Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched the BCS National Championship game the other day.  Alabama put an absolute beat down on Notre Dame.  I think it is pretty clear this year that Alabama is the best football team in College Football.

We were talking in the office the next day about how this Alabama football team might be able to play a very competitive game against one of the “bottom feeder” teams in the NFL.  That may sound like I am disrespecting Alabama but I am not.  I am actually paying a very high complement to a college football team.

The reality is that the level of competitiveness between high school football and college football is similar to the difference between college and the NFL.  There will probably be less than ten players from this Alabama football team that will have a career in the NFL of any duration.  There are probably less than five that will actually start next year in the NFL.  Whereas, every player in the NFL would start on Alabama’s team.

Alabama’s players should enjoy their accomplishment of winning the National Championship but that achievement should also keep it in perspective.

That perspective is a hard one.  We all like to be the big fish and we want to forget about the size of pond that we are in.  This is evident when we spend any time observing people.

Go into any High School and watch the seniors strut around in all of their glory.  They are in for a harsh awakening in the coming year when they jump into the bigger pond of the work place or college.

There are poor managers who strut around their office giving orders like they are ruling a fiefdom.  This same manager would probably get flushed out of a quality organization.

There some fathers that rule their family with an iron thumb because that is the only place that they can demand respect.

There are some Christians that strut into Church with a piousness that appears to be ordained from God Himself.  They will only sit through a sermon that confirms how great they are.

It is human nature to want affirmation.  I like affirmation.  I need affirmation.  However, a steady diet of affirmation can sour our appetite.  However, the affirmation that we receive is praise for a “little fish in little pond”.  That is the caveat on every single encouraging word that we may receive.  Therefore, the wise among us are careful to watch that they don’t start strutting around thinking that they are something special.

This mentality is so dangerous in the Christian community.  We are so very good at patting each other on the back.  We are good at encouraging one another for the great things that we have done.  Now, I am all in favor of encouraging one another.  I wrote a whole blog about the importance of encouraging one another a while back.

The caveat on that blog is that we as believers should never start selectively reading the scriptures for only those passages that are encouraging.  We should never start selecting the Church we attend based on the Pastor only teaches encouraging sermons.  We should never select our friend based on the fact that they are encouraging without being confronting.

It is when we start seeking glory from others that we should be concerned that affirmation may have soured our appetite.  This is what happened to the Pharisees.  They missed their Messiah because they had become so accustomed to receiving flattery.

“… they were open to messianic claimants who used flattery or who panted after great reputation or whose values were so closely attuned to their audience that their audience felt they were very wise and farsighted; they were not open to the Messiah that Jesus was turning out to be, one who though the only doxa (glory/praise) worth pursuing was the glory of God.” D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John

That is still a danger for us today.  We can miss Christ by becoming so attuned to hearing messages that flatter us or only come from those with a great reputation or messages that tell us what we want to hear.

How do we defend ourselves from that sort of danger?  You have to remember that:


Please don’t be overly offended if no one has ever told you that before.  If it makes you feel any better, I stink too.  In fact, every person who has walked this earth, other than Christ, has stunk.  That is the point; Christ did not.  That is why He is our standard.

We must remember that you are not the standard; I am not the standard; the mega-church pastors are not the standard; the people in the Bible are not the standard.

Christ is our standard.

Every time you receive some glory, compare yourself to Christ.

Every time you are affirmed, compare yourself to Christ.

Every time you are praised, compare yourself to Christ.

When we consistently compare ourselves to Christ, we will realize the futility of pursuing our own glory.  We are little fish in a little pond.  All the glory that we may receive has the caveat of  “but God is greater.”

Remembering that you stink should not discourage.  It should be humbling but not discouraging.  It leads us and teaches us how great our God really is.  He is the biggest fish in the biggest pond of all.  This is the foundation of true humility.

A mind-set of humility will inoculate us from seeking our self-esteem from the glory of one another.  An appetite for the praise of man can so easily distract and corrupt our motivations. Humility allows us to pursue our primary purpose – to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever – and not to be distracted by the praise of man.

Remember that it is because God is so great that He can use someone who stinks as much as you and I do.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for getting my priorities so far out of whack.  Forgive me for seeking my glory while I am trying to convince myself that I am seeking yours.  Lord you are so far beyond me that any glory that I might receive in this world is pittance to the glory that is due you.  Lord, make my motivations clear to me.  Help be to glorify you in all that I do and to enjoy you all my days.  Amen

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