They are called “storm chasers”. Reports of a terrifying tornado will empty a midwestern town, but these meteorological maniacs will be driving at reckless speeds in pursuit of the cyclone. Destructive force draws them. They must see the funnel, study the funnel, savor the funnel.
Why? It’s the funny thing about being human: We chase what we love. We’re all born pursuers—we go after things we value.
What is it for you? Think about what you value. Maybe you can rattle off your priorities like a shopping list—God, marriage, kids, decent income, peace—these often top the charts. But do they define how you live? Or are there some hidden, unspoken motivations that take priority?
If you’re not sure, look at how you spend your time and your money. Consider what you think about, where your mind drifts, what you notice and ponder. When all is said and done, what we pursue reveals what we love; what truly matters to us. It’s how we’re wired. Be it books, Broadway, or Botox, we pursue what we value.
“Many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it” (John 12: 42). This passage describes the religious leaders around Jesus. They listened to him, they believed in him—but they wouldn’t say so publicly. How come? What was so important that they could look straight at the Son of God and turn away?
John says it was “for fear of the Pharisees.” After all, these so-called believers were “authorities” in the Jewish community, which meant their jobs and reputations were tied to synagogue life—and the Pharisees could bounce them out of the synagogue. To be tossed from the synagogue meant you could kiss your position and your income goodbye. That’s pretty serious.
Before we judge them too severely, though, think about whether your own conversion carried any fear of reprisals. My decision to follow Jesus was basically a raised hand after an altar call—several, actually. The possibility of being expelled from my neighborhood was inconceivable, although there were certainly incidents at school where suspensions took place (fodder, perhaps, for another day). If the fear those Jerusalem authorities felt was anything like mine during those episodes, I’m sure they were freaked out.
But here’s the grabber. In the very next sentence, God restrains our instinctive sympathy for these guys by flipping the light on their true motives. Why the hypocrisy? Was it something they feared? Yes, at first glance. But deeper down, resting at the very core was really something they loved.
“They loved the glory that comes from man,” John writes, “more than the glory that comes from God” (v. 43).
Glory. They craved it. Like storm chasers, they hunted it. They were addicted to it. Their drive was so powerful, it diverted them from the Son of God himself.
As you start the day, think about which source of glory you want to pursue–the glory that comes from man or the glory that comes from God. Chasing man-glory leads to bondage. Chasing God’s glory leads us to the embodiment of His glory – Jesus Christ.
Settle this in your mind: Today you will chase glory. The essential question is: Where will you find it?
Tenacious Tuesday Questions
- What would those who know you best say you “chase”?
- What really motivates you in your work, your home, your ministry?
- What drives the way you interact with your spouse, your kids, your friends, your neighbors?
- What glory matters most to you?
Lord, help me understand the hidden recesses of my heart. Search me, try me, see if there is anything driving me, any loves or values, that don’t honor you. Lead me in the way everlasting, which is to love you with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.