Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Popular Person

This is my commandment, 
that you love one another, 
as I have loved you. 

Greater love has no man than this, 
that a man lay down his life for his friends. 
John 15:12-13

The Hunger Games ... 
is without question one of the most popular book and movie series over the past several years. What is the most important moment of the entire series?

I know what I would say. That’s easy: 
In the sick world in which they live … 11 year old Primrose Everdeen’s name is called to suffer a most certain violent death … her 16 year old sister Katnis rushes to her rescue, and volunteers to take her place in the deadly Hunger Games. Three books and movies are the result of this noble decision.  We have also read stories about Medal of Honor winners who fall on a grenade to save the men that they love. This is the ultimate act of love and bravery. The reason these deeds have so much power is because they act out the words of Christ above.

This commandment (singular) is referred to as the law of Christ. 
The natural tendency of people is to interpret this verse to mean being loving to others in a way that would be pleasing from a worldly point of view; because that is basically all they know.  But when we meditate upon these words and look at them in context we learn that this verse means so much more. For example, in chapter 13 Jesus models His Love by washing the disciple’s feet ... by giving them what they clearly did not deserve.

But the Truth that is most often ignored in our world today is spoken by Jesus two verses earlier when he says: “even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10

The New Testament does not cancel out the Old Testament but rather fulfills it. The apostle Paul expands upon this Truth when he explains: “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, you shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” 
Romans 13:8-10

This verse is all inclusive … 
“and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. ” I needed to repeat this verse because it is so filled with power. All of God’s laws are fulfilled by loving our neighbor.

So where is all of this going? 
This writing was supposed to be about being popular. Well you will see that this most wonderful verse has Truth before and after that are most often not associated with loving our neighbor or being popular.

Read what Jesus has to say next.
“These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” 
John 15:17-20

Most of our life from Childhood ...
throughout our adult life we are trying in one way or another to get people to like us and to be popular. Don’t make waves. Be tolerant and politically correct are the words of the day.  Building others up rather than telling them the Truth is not being loving; but rather the opposite. Why do we do this? Because we want them to like us, and we want to be popular.

Did Jesus ever do that; or did he always tell the Truth?

Being popular is great as long as we do not compromise the Truth to gain popularity. We must always remember: “the servant is not greater than his lord” We must do our best to be popular with Him and those in the family of God and He will take care of the rest. We must remember that we are in this world, but we are no longer of this world. We must always remember who we are in the eyes of God and who we will be in the eyes of men as we live out the love of Christ. 

We need to be different, a peculiar people.

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." 
1 Peter 2:9-10

The people loved Jesus you might say.  Really, did they now? … 

... crucify him, they screamed. 
And Jesus’ most loyal follower denied him three times, saying, 
“Woman, I know him not.”

What should we do? Stand on the Truth, and let the chips fall where they may. Many will love you because of the courage of your convictions. This builds respect. But regardless, remember your purpose is to stand on the Truth … not compromise the Truth or remain silent.

If we are able to please Christ, this is the only popularity we need. Jesus died on the cross for you and I in spite of the fact that we deserved eternal death. The world may hate us and what we have to say; but If Jesus is the only one that I am popular with … then that is the most I could hope for.

“If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love.” Abiding in His love is the most loving thing we can do for those we call friends. They will then be drawn to Christ through each of us by the walk we maintain daily and hopefully they will abide with Him for eternity. Teach a man to fish.

God bless you my friends, Bob

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