Coming up like most of us I desired to be liked and accepted. I believe it is natural to want to be a part of some sort of community in addition to your immediate family whether from a good home or not so good home. It’s natural for someone to want to be thought highly of. And depending on how much we desire to be acknowledged, accepted, and honored, will determine whether or not the pressure of our peers will get the best of us.
Typically when someone thinks of peer pressure we think of something that only our youth must deal with. But as Christians there are so many societal pressures that are coming upon us well into adulthood. The media, entertainers, and influencers are constantly painting a negative picture of Christians. The world even wants to dictate what is acceptable for a Christian to believe.
For example I was reading a social media post recently from Tony Dungy, who is a former NFL coach, and first black coach to win a Super Bowl. Growing up I liked how he was laid back but still an effective leader and when I found out he was a follower of Jesus I watched him more. So he posted about his initiative to encourage fathers to be active in their child’s lives and the importance of the nuclear family. People began to comment some in support, but others began to challenge him some saying that the traditional nuclear family is not inclusive and can offend “lgbtq” families and he needs to be careful. Dungy stood his ground; he shared his beliefs, that a father and a mother is the best case scenario, even quoting Genesis and Jesus “He made them both male and female, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife” (Mark 10:6-7). I noticed that he had a long dialog with one guy in particular. The person was saying that those verses were out of context and you can’t read everything literally. I checked to see who the guy was and it turned out that he was not only a professing Christian but a lgbtq affirming pastor. This article isn’t about that lifestyle, but the point is Dungy stood on the truth, which is Jesus, and because of that a lot of people came after him.
Yes we are the light of the world and people will be drawn to us, but people will also develop a hatred for us because of who we represent. Jesus gave us fair warning about how the world would respond to us believers.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.John 15:18
This fallen world is under the control of the devil and it teaches people who are of it, to hate Jesus and those who follow Him, back then and still today. I just don’t want to take that for granted. It’s not personal, it’s not flesh and blood, it is by design. Jesus is just letting us know, it’s not about us it is because of Him. The quicker we understand this the better off we will be. I don’t have to want to be accepted by anyone but The Lord. Truly having that mentality is liberating to us as Christians. It takes a big weight off of us when we don’t fear man, but reserve that reverential fear for God alone. Our lives are hidden in Christ anyway, so it doesn’t matter if they like us or not.
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.John 15:19
There are even so called “Christian leaders” that have folded under the pressures of this world and it’s hatred for Jesus. The world actually calls on these Christian leaders to co-sign their wicked agendas, that clearly contradict the word of God. These leaders are loved by the world because they belong to it. We cannot claim Jesus and be a friend of the world, that is deception. Those who do, deceive themselves and others. The more we hang on to this world the more we will be tempted to compromise with the world. God’s word is filled for many wonderful promises to those who follow Him, however it contains many warnings and tough teachings that are hard to grasp. The truth hurts sometimes, but we must trust God’s Word and love the truth (the whole truth, not just the parts that make us feel good).
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.2 Thessalonians 2:10
So how do we respond to the fact that the world will hate Christians? Jesus said, “These things have I spoken to unto you, that ye should not be offended”. Don’t be offended. Jesus wants us to be prepared so that we won’t fall away from the faith. He loves us, that why He does not hold anything back even the harsh reality of this world. We also have to remember to reject the praise of man. Again if we don’t care to be accepted by this fallen world we will be more willing to stand for God. Next we most love biblically. Think about this, how can we obey Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” If God doesn’t allow these things? Also loving biblically means we don’t allow the world to define love, “Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6. Finally we must remember that we can do nothing without Jesus (reference John 15:5). If we aren’t close to our savior we won’t be able to walk this out in away that is pleasing to The Lord. Love someone who hates you, to love someone enough to tell them the truth in a sincere way, these things aren’t easy and they take supernatural strength and wisdom. God bless –