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A Prayer to Pick Truth Over Crowd Pleasing

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A Prayer to Pick Truth Over Crowd Pleasing
By Megan Evans

“Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’” – John 18:37

It can be hard to side with God’s Truth, especially if you know your choice will be unpopular. Perhaps, like me, you have found your faith tested when standing firm to the voice of Jesus against a persuasive crowd. It’s human nature to want to be liked, but sometimes, this pressure leads us to make choices that don’t glorify God.

Pontius Pilate is well remembered for his crowd-pleasing weakness. As a Roman governor, Pilate routinely presided from his Jerusalem headquarters to ensure law and order during Jewish festival times. During a particular Passover, he found himself standing before a crowd, crying out for Jesus’s crucifixion.

Roman law prohibited the Sanhedrin from carrying out capital punishment, so they demanded that Pilate issue the death sentence. Luke 23:2 captures the nature of their manipulation: “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” Jesus came to bear witness to the truth, yet Pilate refused to listen to the Messiah.  After much questioning, he could find no fault with Him.   Instead, in a moment of great irony, Pilate responded to Truth Himself with the question, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38).  

Despite Pilate’s investigation, Herod’s findings, and even his wife’s report of a troubling dream warning of Jesus’ innocence, Pilate remained unsettled by the mob (Matthew 27:19). In hopes of appeasing everyone, Pilate offered to free Jesus under the Passover tradition of a prisoner release. Sadly, the crowd demanded the release of Barabbas. They traded a murderer whose name in Greek (barr-abbas) means “son of the father” for Jesus, the True Son of the Father–how they all missed the message! 

Although Pilate continued to look for ways to release Jesus, a final blow of peer pressure broke him as the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar” (John 19:12). At this he freed Barabbas, had Jesus beaten beyond recognition, humiliated Him with a purple robe and crown of thorns, and handed Him over for crucifixion.

The trouble with crowd-pleasing is that it often requires us to compromise what we know to be true. Christians are not immune to this temptation, yet God will help us when we seek discernment and strength through scripture and prayer. Each day is full of opportunities to honor our Lord and King as we strive to glorify God through our daily decisions.

I remember standing in our living room surrounded by my daughter and her friends as they begged to watch a PG-13 movie. Since they were thirteen, they felt justified. All I had to do was rent it for them—please, pretty please! I wanted to be the cool mom, but as I looked up the reviews, it became clear there were many inappropriate scenes. Saying no wasn’t the crowd-pleasing choice, but reflecting back, I know it was the right choice that brought God the most glory.

How are you being challenged to be a witness to God’s truth today rather than give in to the pressure of popularity? Like Pilate, have you found yourself tempted to please the crowd despite what you know is right?

Let’s pray:
Father God, it is hard to hear your Truth when the voices around me are loud. Whether it’s my kids, friends, or workplace, I confess I want to be liked, and it is often unpopular to go against the group. Even though it’s human nature to want to fit in, remind me daily that you have given me a new and better nature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Forgive me when I have given into people-pleasing or made choices to gain acceptance or approval of others even when I knew it was wrong. Forgive me for the times I did not stand up for you, Jesus, and the times I complied rather than speaking your truth and light into a situation. Holy Spirit, bring to mind instances that need your forgiveness and wash me with fresh new boldness and strength to reflect your glory in my words and actions. Help me speak your name with love and grace, and give me wisdom and discernment to make Truth-honoring choices today and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Ivan Balvan

Megan EvansMegan Evans is a military wife, and a mother to three wonderful teenagers. She and her family live in Tennessee where she serves as the women’s ministry director at her church. An author and blogger with a heart for discipleship; she writes, speaks, and teaches women about enjoying God in each busy day. Check out her new book, “Permission to Walk: A 40-Day Journey to Unhurried Peace” and learn the daily pace of life that Jesus taught as we daily navigate this distracted and fast-paced world. You can connect with Megan at www.unhurrymyheart.com, www.instagram.com/megan.m_evans , and www.facebook.com/unhurrymyheart.

Teach Us to Pray is a FREE prayer podcast hosted by iBelieve writer Christina Patterson. Each week, she gives you practical, real-life tips on how to grow your faith and relationship with God through the power of prayer. To listen to her episode on What to Pray in the Morning for a Worry-Free Day, click below!

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