May 22: “Craving Heaven’s Applause”

5 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Samuel 1:1–2:11
John 12:20-50
Psalm 118:19-29
Proverbs 15:27-28

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

John 12:43 (NLT): “For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

While reading John 12 this morning, I was struck by one of the themes of this text – dying to live.

John 12:25 (CSB) “Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.”

If we desire to live this life as an end in itself, we will have wasted it and lost eternity with the Lord in Heaven. Yet if we die to this life and live for the life to come, we will demonstrate that we are true Jesus-followers.

Now read this next verse, listening to the example that Jesus set.

John 12:32 (NLT): “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”

In this verse, Jesus talked about his own death. He made it clear that He was not focused on His life on earth. Instead, He focused on obedience to the Father’s will, which meant dying a premature death. In doing so, more people would be drawn to the Father through Him. So, Jesus “care(d) nothing for (his) life in this world” so that He could “keep it for eternity.”

Jesus was calling His followers to only do what He was willing to do. His literal death on the cross illustrated the death in our heart that must take place. We cannot live solely for this life. We must live for Him, even if that means that we forego pleasures and achievements that we pursue apart from Him in this life.

As we consider the verses I chose for today, we observe one way that we can live for this life and not for eternity. Some people believed in Jesus, but they wouldn’t make it public. They were quiet about their relationship with Jesus for fear of what they could lose. They cared much more for the affirmation of their peers than they did for the applause of Heaven.

John 12:42-43 (NLT): “Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.”

So, friend, are you living the one life you’ve been given as an end in itself? Or are you living this one life for eternity? The answer to that question can be determined by whose affirmation you seek – people or God’s.

May we desire to live appropriately in this life, growing “in favor with … all the people” (Luke 2:52), but only craving the applause of Heaven – and acting accordingly.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

2 thoughts on “May 22: “Craving Heaven’s Applause”

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