Popularity Contest?








Scriptural Reference:
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
John 15:18-25 NIV

I know I have in the past discussed the concept of being Popular in the Worlds eyes. But this is an issue that will keep returning. One that as Christians we need to stay aware of. As there is always a danger of pride and popularity undermining our Gospel Mission.

As the short message on the Home Page described it, Jesus never promised a perfect life, just a blessed one. He never said you would be rolling in money or looked up to by people, just someone who is recognised as having standards and being set apart from the rest of the crowd. In the second line Jesus points out the fact that if we are part of the World we are going to be accepted.

We then read on as it explains that we are in fact servants to both the Lord and to our Faith. For this we can expect to find adversity around every corner. Does this mean we become fatalists? That we take on a sort of persecution complex? of course not. We have something that the World doesn't and is missing out on. We have an amazing gift of life ever after. A place with our Lord in his Fathers house. Where we will live with him forever. What more could we ever ask for?

The message tone changes though, as Jesus expresses what those who have rejected him may expect. The very line " If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin." Perhaps says it all. The plain and simple truth is that Jesus did come and speak directly to Gods chosen people, and they turned their backs on him and persecuted him. Even today, we meet people who are vehemently against God. They seem to take perverse pleasure in make crude jokes and mocking anyone who has a conviction of faith. I have met many die hard Atheists who talk against any concept of God with what could be expressed as a religious zeal. Rather ironic.

Sadly this antagonism has even crept into the Church. With Ministers who openly deny everything from the Virgin Birth of Christ to the Physical Resurrection. They make God out to be more a life style choice then the omnipotent God he is. So that even within Gods Church there are those who will make jokes of those who have held to the Bible as the unerring Word and Truth of God.

So where does this leave us? Okay, before I start to wonder off track and rant about the loss of integrity of the Post Modern Church (an article for a future posting) I'll get back to the warning that we receive in these lines from the Lord. We are called to be a Witness to the World. To be set apart and to follow the standards and example set by our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ. This will always set us apart from the World. Why? because the World is ruled by Satan the adversary. It is corrupted by man's desire to do things his own way. A fallen choice that can be traced back to the fall in the Garden of Eden. We are not popular by any means. But we are not alone. As Jesus is with us all the way.

The last lines of our reflective Bible verses sums up the blind rage that the World has towards God, Jesus and us. It is a fulfilment of the Old Testament Prophesy with regards to Gods Son. For ‘They hated me without reason.’. And in the same way they will hate you and me. But be of good cheer. For we are strengthened by the Hole Spirit. Able to take up the armour of God and continue the brave fight.

"When you can't see the Hand of God at work; trust in the Heart of God"

Lord, I long to feel safe,
Yet not at the price of my Salvation.

Teach my heart to trust,
In your Grace,
In your Love,
In your Presence,
And I will follow you.

Lord, I long to be accepted,
Yet not at the risk of losing you.

Fill me with a desire,
To share the Gospel,
Reach out to others,
Be your light,
In this darkened World.

In these simple things I pray,
The Holy Spirit may bless me.