Tuesday, June 03, 2014

How does the world feel about you?

Jesus converses with the doctors
of the law - Alexandre Bida

Jesus converses with the doctors of the law by Alexandre Bida
TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 7:1-24

TO CHEW ON: "The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil."  John 7:7

Though there have been times when Christians were in sync with their larger society, such times seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Even in my lifetime there has been a cooling toward Christians and Christianity due, partly at least, to the reason Jesus was hated by His neighbours--because he had the audacity to "testify of it that its works are evil." In other words, Jesus believed there was an objective standard of right and wrong and called evil, evil. The message of our prevailing culture is that everything is relative.

Jesus' words here tell us this reaction from the world ("hate") shouldn't surprise us. In fact, maybe we should be more surprised that we are as well accepted as we are.

So, how would a Jesus-type reaction look in our times? It's easy to imagine a holier-than-thou Christianity that puts people off with sanctimonious attitudes and words. None of us wants to be that person.

Perhaps 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 gives us a clue as to how we could live winsome, appealing lives, while being that influence for good:

"Now thanks be to God who ... through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life."

The image of our lives being perfume is a lovely one. Of course that perfume needs to be diffused and  words will probably be a part of that diffusing. And so even here we see that though some will like the 'smell' of those words and the life that backs them up,  others won't. And so, no matter how appealing the image, the hate element raises its head again. For how would we expect someone to react to the smell of death but to hate it?

I ask myself, am I willing to be hated for my loyalty to Christ? Are you?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, may my loyalty to You be unwavering. Please show me where I am compromising that loyalty because I want to be liked. Help me to stand with You when unpopular, evil-condemning words need to be spoken. Amen.

MORE:  Compromise?

 "When Christians compromise with the kosmos, they may continue to attend church and even pray and read their Bibles. The problem is that the things of God occupy a section of their lives, while the main thrust of their affections is devoted to the world-system. Jesus' warning that 'no one can serve to masters' is illustrated on every side by Christians in the West today" - Dennis McCallum, Unlocking the Mysteries of Satan, Kindle Location 908 (emphasis added).
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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