We’re no longer strangers to God when we become Christians. But now we’re strange to the world. A lot of Christians don’t understand that concept as well as they should, I don’t think. We still, you know, we’re supposed to be strangers in the world, but we still want the world to love us. We still want that approval from the world, we still want applause. We still want people to look at us, you know, in a special way. Is that just part of that sinfulness in us, that we want to exalt ourselves?
So well, you know, it’s a tricky thing because, remember, Jesus says, in Matthew 5:16 , “let your light shine before men that they might see your good works”. And those have to be works that are pleasing in the sight of the Father. So there is a place where we should have a desire, in fact in the book of Acts you read, even though the Pharisees and the religious elite were oppressing and opposing the Apostles, the scripture says that they had favor among the people. So there’s that balance between wanting applause.
And I think this is something a lot of Christians don’t understand. We don’t want the world to applaud us , but the scripture says we are to conduct ourselves in a way that the world doesn’t necessarily hate everything we do. Now, that’s such a fine line there. How do we do that? And that’s the balancing act. So we live righteously, but we never make it our goal to make people dislike us. You know, the phrase that many people use, and we all do it in there are times when it’s appropriate. Well, that’s the way it is, you just have to get over it. You know, that’s true. But that attitude can make people dislike you and not have anything to do with your Christian faith or your Christian commitment. So, so we have to, we have to watch ourselves and things like that. But if all we want is the applause of the world, so I guess the way you would say it is that we take both the applause and criticism. When we have conducted ourselves appropriately, and the world finds what we have done, satisfactory, then we say, amen. But when we have conducted ourselves properly and the world hates us, we say, Amen, you know, I think it was, I’m thinking it was Spurgeon who said, you should only believe half of what people say when they praise or criticize you. You deserve less of the praise and more of the blame than what we’re willing to admit.
I stand in a pulpit and I say homosexuality is a sin. That’s true. It needs to be said. But I can say it in the nicest way possible and still invoke the world’s wrath; because of the message. And I think we have to be careful that we’re just not setting out to make people dislike us, because that seems to fly in the face of what Jesus said about let your light shine, that they see your good works and glorified your Father in heaven. By the way, the only people that are going to really glorify God in heaven for those good works are people coming to Christ. So that somehow our works are being used by God to draw people to Christ, and not just driving people away, which will also happen. For me, it’s a very involved complex. How do we stay true to scripture without intentionally driving people away?
I guess the verse you mentioned, that people see our good works and then they glorify Christ. That’s the focal point of it. That’s the purpose, that we glorify Christ. Now we need to be doing good works so that people say, well, they’re doing a good work. But if Christ is not being glorified, then we’re missing the mark.
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