Seek Heavenly Approval (John 5:41) - Radical

Seek Heavenly Approval (John 5:41)

I do not receive glory from people.
– John 5:41

That’s a pretty simple verse, a pretty simple sentence. What is that, seven words? “I do not receive glory from people.”

John 5:41 Portrays Jesus’ Heavenly Motivation

This is Jesus talking about how he seeks the glory that comes from the only God. That’s the language in John 5:44, just a couple of verses later. “How can you believe,” Jesus says, “when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”

And I just want to encourage all of us to ask the question right now, how much do you desire glory from other people? We might not use the word glory. We might think, “Well, I don’t want glory,” but how much do you and I live for what others think about us? How often are our thoughts drawn to what others will think of us in this or that circumstance, or this or that situation, and this or that relationship?

And obviously there’s a good sense in which we want to reflect the glory of God well. So we don’t want others to think poorly of us in a way that might cause them to think poorly of God. We want in a Matthew 5 kind of way to let our light shine before men that people may see our good deeds, our lives and give glory to God in heaven. At the same time, if we’re not careful, especially in an age where we are so prone to put forward a certain image through social media or put on a certain face even in the church. So what would it look like to be totally free from the desire for glory from other people and totally free to live for the glory that comes from God alone?

John 5:41 Encourages Us to Seek Heavenly Motivation

God, we want to live like that. We want to live for the glory that comes from you alone. Lord, we want to live for the smile of heaven. We want to live to be faithful to you. God, we do, we want to reflect your glory. We want to reflect your love, your mercy. Lord, we want to do justice in a way that reflects your justice. We want to reflect your kindness and goodness, faithfulness and gentleness, all these fruits of your Spirit.

So help us, we pray, to live for your glory alone. Free us from the desire today to live for the approval of others, to live for what others will think of us. God, help us to live for what others will think of you. We pray that you would help us to live for your glory in their eyes, that that is what would consume us today. How can I bring glory to you, and in a beautiful way by your grace, receive glory from you.

Praying for the Aguri People

We want your face to shine upon us as we keep our eyes totally exclusively fixed on you. God, may it be so. And God, we pray, help us to live for your glory among all the nations. Use our prayer right now for the Aguri people of India, 600,000 of them, little to no known followers of Jesus in this group of people, its Bengali language, two castes, upper caste consisting of agricultural landowners, and then lower caste members who work on farms as laborers and cow herders.

God, make your glory known among the Aguri people of India, cause your glory to spread to all the nations, including the Aguri people, and help us to live for that, to enjoy your glory and exalt your glory in all the nations. Use our lives today toward that end and our prayers specifically for the Aguri people toward that end. We pray all of this in light of Jesus’ words in John 5:41. In Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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