Explore the quest for honor, the essence of divine love, and the challenge of seeking God's glory over human validation in John 5:41-44.
John 5:41-44 — Motivation — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on John 5:41-44. Listen.
[Jesus said:] “I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
We all need motivation in our lives. Motivation is the force or feeling that drives us to do things. It's like an inner spark that pushes us to achieve our goals, whether getting a good grade, helping a friend, or finishing a task.
Different things motivate us. One of the things that drives us is the quest for honor and recognition. Even the apostles sought it as they jockeyed with each other for positions of importance.
In this passage, where Jesus talks about motivation, we can learn a few things. He begins by distancing himself from the need for human validation. "I do not accept glory from human beings," he says. This statement has a huge implication for us. Who do we seek glory from? From human beings or from God?
Unlike many of the religious leaders of his day, Jesus isn't driven by the desire for human accolades or recognition. His purpose is rooted in divine will, not human approval. Ours should be too.
Jesus then says, "I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts." This statement is both an indictment and a lament. The religious leaders, for all their piety and knowledge, lacked the very essence of what it meant to know God: love. This absence made them susceptible to the allure of human glory. The question for us is obvious: do we do things out of love for God or love for glory?
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul says, "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Essentially, without love, we are a big zero.
Jesus concludes with a penetrating question: "How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" It's a question that challenges us today. The pursuit of human glory often blinds us to divine truths. When our primary focus is on gaining the approval of those around us, it becomes difficult to seek and recognize the honor that comes from God.
Let us examine the sources of our validation and realign our pursuits, ensuring that our primary desire is for the enduring glory that comes from God, not the fleeting and often fickle accolades of humanity.
God bless you.