“He said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
The Pharisees’ entire religious system was built on what man esteems. Everything they did was done to receive glory, honor and praise from man. They got it, even the disciples thought the Pharisees were top rung guys.
But Jesus disrobed their false righteousness repeatedly and instead praised the faith of poor women who considered themselves dogs and unrighteous sinners who couldn’t raise their eyes to heaven.
Unfortunately, Pharisaism is alive and well in the church today. The vast majority participate because everyone expects them to, not because they have much desire on their own. Plain old religious activity done for God is lonely and unappreciated, therefore no one wants to join in.
This is not much fun, so churches, in an effort to attract people to that which they don’t really like, have to play to what man esteems to bring the people in.
I tread on dangerous ground here but honestly, does anyone think modern “worship services” are designed for the esteem of man or God? What about modern church buildings? Pastoral leadership based on fortune-500 CEO models? Pastoral celebrity-ism?
Painting with a broad brush implicates too many, there are obviously exceptions, you are, no doubt, one of them. As we all know, evil people are always the “others.”
Revelation begins with letters to seven churches; observe their faults:
–Ephesus left their first love
–Pergamos went after doctrine of Balaam (changing beliefs for money) and idolatry
–Thyatira was seduced into fornication and idolatry by Jezebel
–Sardis is dead spiritually but a reputation for being alive
–Laodicea is lukewarm, looks rich but is spiritually poor, looks well fed but is famished
These churches went after the esteem of men and fell from Christian distinctive. Smyrna and Philadelphia get nothing but praise from God for standing firm against persecution and opposition and holding fast to God’s word.
We follow God, let man do what man will do. The success of the Church is never dependent on men, it is ever and always dependent on the Spirit. This means real, practical things, most of which we can’t afford to mess with.