Monday, 1 August 2022

Fame and Popularity

 Scripture:  John 15 v 16 - 19:  "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

17  These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

We are chosen by Jesus to receive the love of our Father, to be given tasks by Him, particularly to bring forth fruit, fruit that does not go bad, or perish.  This fruit is the souls who don't know Him yet.  If we do this, whatever we ask Him for will be done for us.

He commands us to love one another.  This is not the kind of love that is romantic, affectionate or sentimental.  This is the love that endures hardship, sticks together like soldiers in battle.  Will carry the fallen to safety not stomp them into the ground.  It is the love that speaks the truth about Jesus to the lost.

This love is totally opposite to worldly love because it shuns gossip, belittling, undermining or sarcasm and upholds each member of the Christian family in truth and honour.  Even Christians who are imperfect and still in the process of becoming perfect.  As we all are.

The love instilled in us by God is sacrificial, humble, not exalting oneself above another, but esteeming everyone as higher than oneself.  

Phillipians 2 v 2 - 4: "Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

This means that the ambition to achieve great self-esteem is contrary to Christianity.  Vying for top leadership positions to show success as a Christian is just as false.  Jesus laid aside His Kingdom to humble Himself to become a human being.  This was not One who was seeking fame and glory.  He was seeking lost souls, and still is.  He came to sacrifice Himself, hanging naked on the Cross, because it was the only way to save us.  There is no Plan B.

In this world Christians are hated, despised, spat upon, persecuted, tortured, killed, martyred and the people who behave like that think they are doing God a favour.  John 16 v 2: "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service."

Indeed the Jews suffer hatred and persecution because they are also God's people in covenant with Him, as we are.  One of the ways in which God will judge people is in their attitude to Israel.  Jesus said, whatever we do to the least of these, My brethren, we do it to Him.  Love them and we love Him.  Hate them, and no matter what our heads tell us, we hate Him too.

We all want to be popular, its a cherished status symbol, to be liked, imitated, adored by all.  But heed the words of Jesus in Luke 6 v 26 - 28: "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27  But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."

It's not easy to love an enemy but while we were still enemies of Jesus He died for us to destroy the enmity between us and our Heavenly Father.  Satan has lied to every soul on Earth to try to turn them away from Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life.  Who paid the ultimate price to at least win some of us back.

Those who hate us for being like Him will be so shocked to find themselves on the highway to Hell after they die.  For sure there will be no hate, lies, prejudice, persecution, or condemnation in Heaven.  

We must face ourselves aligned with Jesus and wherever we don't match Him, we must start making changes.  He only showed anger towards hypocrites like the Pharisees, the priesthood who prevented people from receiving salvation, and lied to the Jews that Jesus was never resurrected, His body was stolen by His disciples.  This lie is believed by many Jews to this day, blocking them from salvation.

However if Jesus is not risen then our faith is meaningless, because then He is dead and not returning.  But we know Him, we hear His voice and witness healing and miracles.  We see the things He warned us of happening in front of our eyes daily.  He could not be more real or relevant.

So it may not be popular to tell the world about Jesus but we must.  They will not know without a preacher, and that duty falls upon each one of us.  If we love them we will tell them how to be saved from eternal fire.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, without Jesus we are nothing and have nothing.  Popularity is a farce filled with pride.  We cannot bring material goods with us when we come Home, but we can only bring souls to You.  It's all You want from us, and it will reveal our love for You.  Help us to accomplish Your perfect will.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.