43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. — John 12:43 NLT
There were many of the people, leaders in the religious communities and others who believed what Jesus was saying but refused to admit it in public. They were more concerned about what the Jewish leaders would say and do than they were about what Jesus said. They were afraid that they would lose their positions in the community and be removed from the synagouge. They would not admit publicly that they believed what Jesus said. When we read these verses, it is easy for us to criticize and judge these people for their lack of support for Jesus. But, if we stop, meditate and let the Holy Spirit lead us into the truth, we may just realize that we are sometimes like those people. Yes, our egos say we would never deny Jesus and perhaps, verbally we wouldn’t. However, we must look at our actions or our lack of action in certain situations. How many times have we been nudged by the Holy Spirit to say something to someone or do something for someone and by our inactions, we said “NO”. In those times, we became “secret believers” preferring silence over speaking out for Jesus, our Lord and Savior. How many times have we felt the shame when we are convicted of our inactivity by the Holy Spirit? Jesus said that “if you deny me before men, I will deny you before the Father”. If we do not speak out and our lifestyles do not show others that we are living for Jesus, then the truth of His words will judge us on the day of judgment. We must be willing to get out of our comfort zones and be ridicule, offended and persecuted because we believe the truth. There is only one God and only one Jesus who died for our sins. There is no other way to heaven.
4 When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. — Ecclesiastes 5:4 NLT
When we are having problems in our lives, we often make statements to God that we will do such and such if He will answer our prayers with a “yes”. Then, when He has fulfilled His commitment and the seas are calm, we often forget to perform our part of the contract. Perhaps, we have said that if God would bless us financially, we would increase our tithe and we haven’t done that yet. Or, perhaps we have felt that we were in physical danger and God delivered us in answer to our prayer but we have yet to fulfill the contract.. This puts our very lives and souls in danger. When we make a vow to do this or that for God, we must be careful to fulfill this vow as quickly as possible. Take the case of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts. They sold a piece of property for an amount of money, how much we don’t know. Ananias and his wife had agreed to keep part of the money but to tell the apostles they were giving the full amount. Ananias brought some money to the apostles and told them that it was the full amount of the purchase price. This was not true and when Peter pointed out that Ananias had not only lied to them but to the Holy Spirit, Ananias was struck dead immediately. The same thing happened when Sapphira came in and told the same story.
We must be very careful when we make vows and promises to God. He is not a man that He should lie and we cannot keep secrets from Him. If we have made a commtiment to Him, whether the commitment is financial, more time spent with Him or a change in our lifestyles, we must careful to make sure that our actions are consistent with our promises.