“Crucify him!” they shouted. (Mark 15:13)
O.K.- let’s do an exercise in self-reflection for a moment. Think about the past few days, and how people’s words have impacted you. If you are like most folks, words from others may have made the difference between brave action and boring apathy, between being encouragement and discouragement.
Or perhaps there were things that you truly wanted to do, but decided against doing because of what people might say.
A missionary named C.T. Studd had great insight into the impact of opinions. Here’s a story he told:
Once a miller, his son and their donkey went to the market. The miller rode the donkey all the way and people exclaimed, ‘Cruel man, riding himself and making his son walk’ So he got down and his son rode; then people slang, ‘What a lazy son for riding while poor old father walks.’ Then both father and son rode, and people then said, ‘Cruelty to animals, poor donkey.’ So they got down and carried the donkey on a pole, but folks said, ‘Here are two dumb animals carrying another dumb animal.’ Then all three walked and people said, ‘What fools to have a donkey and not ride it.’
Ever have a day like that? Especially when it comes to living the Christian life. As soon as you make a definite decision to serve God one way or another, I guarantee you will soon have critics of what you are doing. Let me illustrate:
“I think it’s o.k. to be friends with non-Christians as long as they aren’t influencing you away from God.”
“Are you serious? Christians should totally avoid unbelievers and just hang out with other believers- preferably from their own denomination. I think that’s in the Bible somewhere.”
See what I mean? When you start communicating your convictions, get ready to be insulted and challenged!
So when it comes down to a fight between your beliefs and your buddies, who will get the upper hand? The Apostle Paul was aware of this battle, which is why he wrote:
I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant. (Galatians 1:10)
The point is that you can never make everyone happy, so why try? In fact, Paul takes it a step further to say that basing your decisions on public opinion is not only foolish, it is also a form of rebelling against Christ!
I would challenge you to fulfill God’s calling on your life. Remember, the purpose of life is not to be wealthy, popular, well-liked, successful, educated, good-looking, or even happy.
Jesus told us that life is about seeking first the Kingdom of God…
Perhaps it is time to start listening for the applause of heaven rather than the curtain calls from the crowd?
What is God calling you to do right now?
In what areas are you listening to the crowd instead of Christ?
Is it ungodly to be popular? Why or why not?