37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” e
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” 
What struck me today were Jesus’ words about believers who would not openly acknowledge Him, “for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” Whose praise do I seek? Which matters more to me?
Now there are Christians in many places throughout the world who keep their faith a secret. I’m speaking of those who face real persecution, where the threat is not being kicked out of the synagogue, but being put to death. In parts of India, Africa and in the Middle East, this is a reality that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ deal with, sometimes on a daily business. We should keep these people in our prayers daily, praying for their faith, their perseverance, and their safety.
But there are many who fail to acknowledge their faith, not out of fear of physical or economic persecution, but simply because, as Jesus put it, they value the approval of people more than the approval of God. That’s a harsh judgment, but it comes from Jesus.
Where do I seek approval? Of course the approval or “praise” that matters most is that which comes from our Father. Think of the covenant triangle. He is the source of our identity, that of beloved children of the Father, and all that He has is ours in our covenant oneness. We live this through obedience to His will, because after all, we are one with Him and the life we live is His life. This is a live lived in the Father’s praise.
When we value the approval of others above this identity, we become vulnerable to all kinds of errors, wrong thinking and wrong living. In the case of our passage, it led some of the people to keep their faith in Christ a secret. In other words, it totally shut down their witness.
Can that happen in my life? How would my life be different if I only sought the approval and praise of the Father?
My prayer today is for just that. I pray that I will live this day in my identity as a beloved child of the Father, not valuing the approval of others over my Father’s love and call.
What does the Word lead you to pray about today?
 The New International Version. 2011 (Jn 12:37–50). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.