Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 29, 2018
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 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. John 15:18-19
I like to be liked, but if this desire for acceptance causes me to compromise my convictions, I am in danger of being an ineffective disciple who just blends in with the world. If my sense of significance is measured by how many social media “likes” I receive, I am set up for disappointment. Rather, Jesus calls me to come out from the confused culture and clearly live out what it means to follow Him. Honesty, high marriage standards and holiness many times receive a cold shoulder from secular society. I can rest in Christ’s acceptance, His “likes” are all that matter.
Jesus had already traveled the road of rejection, as He was misunderstood and alienated by family, friends, religious bullies and an oppressive culture. Instead of a life of admiration and opportunity, the disciples could expect to be expelled from society’s elite and from institutional positions of influence. Hatred is a hard and ugly emotion that activates all its influence to bar believers in Jesus from legitimacy. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit can cut through these sinister forces and open hearts to the heart of God. Jesus empowers and “likes” those who abide in Him.
“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:26-27).
Though Christians tend to be nice people this is not a guarantee that everyone will be nice to you, in fact, you can be sure some will marginalize you and make fun of you behind your back. You may try to help someone and later find out they gossiped about you. Don’t be surprised as sin is not comfortable around those who seek God. Some people grasp for a sense of superiority by verbally pushing down others or they justify their bad behavior by pointing out the imperfections in yours. The world’s disciples will unfollow you as you faithfully follow Jesus.
How are Christians to respond to unholy accusations and harsh actions? Love. If we fight back at fabricated scenarios we only enflame the fires of fear. Instead, our approach to rejection is acceptance and prayer for our enemies. When we are treated badly, we rise up with a righteous response that does good deeds. A critic of yours will one day experience a crisis—when they are down go to them with comfort not criticism, hope not hatred and forgiveness not fear. Don’t allow your need to be “liked” to keep you from loving those hard to love. The Lord likes you.
“The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness” (Proverbs 15:9).
PrayerHeavenly Father, my desire is to first be loved and empowered by You to love my enemies, in Jesus’ name, amen.
ApplicationWho needs my unconditional love and acceptance even though they have treated me badly?
Related ReadingMatthew 5:44, 10:25; Romans 5:10; 2 Timothy 3:12
Post/Tweet todayThe Holy Spirit can cut through sinister forces and open hearts to the heart of God. #liked #wisdomhunters
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