I’m sure you have all heard the idiom, “The proof’s in the pudding,” or “The proof of the pudding,” which is used to signify the fact that the quality of something can only be determined in the experience of it. It is actually more clear in the original phrase:
This phrase actually dates back to circa 1605 in Cervantes’ work Don Quijote, and has been subsequently chopped up, paraphrased and otherwise used in so many ways, that is has come to take on different meanings. Taking the original form of the word “proof,” which meant “to test” to now mean “proof” as in “the evidence of a test.” But, let’s not get hung up on all of these details and usages.
The Word-Detective summarizes its original intent quite nicely:
“A dish may have been made from a good recipe with fresh ingredients and look delicious, but you can really only judge it by putting it in your mouth. The actual taste is the only true criterion of success.”
As you may have guessed, I do actually have a motive for sharing this brief etymology with you. The reason is that I see a trend in today’s world of people trying to prove themselves, and/or their work, to the point of extreme exhaustion and stress. I, myself, have struggled with this notion a lot over the years.
Maybe it’s just me, I tell myself.
But, when I look to social media and just talking with people, I see that it’s not. There seems to be this desperate need to prove who we are, what we’re about, and why we’re about it. Some would say, it’s normal, we’re just wanting to be understood, after all .
And that sounds a lot more relatable to us, since we don’t want to consider that we are actually out to prove something to the world. Especially, when we are constantly affirming that fact or hearing others proclaim they, “…have nothing to prove…” and that we ” ...could care less what anybody thinks…” of what we said or did.
What about when it comes to matters of passion or faith? Do you ever feel you need to Stand Up for what you believe in? And by that I mean, to actually verbally “prove” what you believe to be right? There is honestly nothing wrong with that, and is actually very edifying. But, when that becomes the driving force, I think it becomes a problem. Give me a chance to explain…
First, we have to look to the Word. There’s an interesting account recorded in John chapter 7. I will go ahead and post the whole first part of it here:
John 7: 1-9 (HCSB)
1After this, Jesus traveled in Galilee, since He did not want to travel in Judea because the Jews were trying to kill Him. 2The Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 so His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go to Judea so Your disciples can see Your works that You are doing. 4For no one does anything in secret while he’s seeking public recognition. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5(For not even His brothers believed in Him.) 6Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I testify about it — that its deeds are evil. 8Go up to the festival yourselves. I’m not going up to the festival yet,because My time has not yet fully come.”9After He had said these things, He stayed in Galilee.
(The verses I highlighted in blue are the ones we will pay special attention to.)
Basically, His brothers urge Jesus to go to the Festival of the Tabernacles, or in today’s language, Mardi Gras, ignoring the fact that He was literally being hunted down by the Italian Mob (of course, in the absence of internet and Google), saying essentially: “Anyone who wants to be known [or Famous], doesn’t hide his work/ talent, but shows it off to the world.”
What crass words to be said to Him. And you have to think about how hurtful it must have been to even be rejected by your own brothers, younger ones, at that. Jesus responds in humility, and simply tells them it is not yet His time.
Later, Jesus decides to go quietly to the Festival. While there, He ends up teaching at the Temple. Where many people are divided on His teachings and character. Toward the end of the chapter (John 7:40-53), there is even debate among the Pharisee leaders as to what should be done about Him.
They were arguing over whether Jesus was the true Messiah or not. Some saying that Jesus comes from Galilee, and the “Real” Messiah would be from Bethlehem, and be born of King David’s line (which both were true of Jesus). One leader also tried the bandwagon approach (John 7:52), trying to argue that everyone knows nothing good comes from Galilee.
“Investigate and you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Even though back then, upon further investigation even that claim (although it was irrelevant to Jesus) would be proven false. As we know that Jonah, a recognized prophet, came from Galilee (2 Kings 14:25).
Jesus came speaking and teaching what God told Him to, and not what He desired (John 7: 16-17 ). He could have easily made a chart of His lineage, told people where He was born, and shown which other prophesies He had fulfilled up until that point (a la excel spreadsheet, perhaps?).
But, He didn’t; it wasn’t His task, or desire, to “prove” Himself to the World. Although He could have, since the proof was there. He wasn’t trying to become famous – He was simply doing the will of the Father.
Instead of teaching in parables, Jesus could have held a public forum/debate to win as many people to His side versus the Pharisees as the evidence was there for the picking. BUT, that’s just NOT How He Rolled.
He was walking in the Spirit. Alone at times, even when His family didn’t believe in Him. He was led by the Spirit and NOT the opinions of man – That IS How He Rolled!
He didn’t have a sales pitch; He didn’t have a lecture ready, and He didn’t have a “Holier than thou” attitude. He didn’t have anything to prove. What did He have then?
He had Love. Grace. Patience. Mercy. Understanding. He had Healing. Compassion, and Forgiveness. Mostly Love, though (even for those who wanted Him dead). He gave of Himself to the point of death.
Jesus was not a fame seeker. He wasn’t out to prove Himself or give all of the facts that would prove who He was, although He easily could have – they were there.
He came to be the Truth in Love.
Are you trying to prove yourself to others? In your actions, posts to social media, or in words? Are you trying to “prove” God to others?
Just rest in knowing that He comes in Power, and doesn’t need us to do anything in that regard. As far as proving yourself, just remember that the only one who is worthy of that proof, is the one who created you.
And, He asks us to: love.
Lastly, I will leave you with one final question to think on:
What does your level of love say about your walk with God? Nothing? or Everything?
Consider this: The Proof of your Christian walk is in the pudding, I mean, in Your life, and the way you Love. In other words, the way you love, ultimately proves what you’re about and who you follow.
* Julie *