It Takes Courage To Follow Jesus Christ
“You shall not follow a crowd to do evil;" Exodus 23:2 One of the most influential motivations in human behavior is "what everyone else is doing." Some call it "the herd instinct." People have the idea that if everyone else is doing it or believing it, it must be right. But how wrong that can be! If one is going to follow Jesus Christ, he will have to deny this instinct, because what everyone else is doing is many times contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And that's a hard one. It takes courage, it takes utter commitment, and it takes the willingness to pay the price of scorn and rejection - because sometimes the believer will be called upon to pay that price. Many times he will be standing alone in the scorn of society, when it would be so much easier to just go along with the crowd. If one is going to follow Jesus Christ, he must understand "the world." People have the concept that the world is basically good. The Word of God tells us it isn't. In fact, the Lord tells us that it’s steeped in evil. "We know that we are of God, AND THE WHOLE WORLD LIES IN WICKEDNESS." 1 John 5:19 Most, innately, want everyone to just get along. People want tolerance, just do your thing and let me do mine. Whatever feels good, do it. Whatever makes you happy, go for it. On the surface this seems good doesn't it? We feel we need to just love everyone and do whatever it takes to keep the peace. That's fine for the world. It is not fine for one who will follow Christ, because the principles of the world are contrary to the principles of the Word of God. You can't have them both, they conflict with each other, and that's oftentimes going to put the believer in a quandary. "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." 1 Corinthians 3:19 One time I was in a store and as I checked out, the girl behind the counter noticed my birthdate on my driver's license and commented, "oh you're a Scorpio." So what am I to do, just ignore it and keep the peace? I was on the spot as she looked at me with smiling recognition and said she was a Scorpio too. "No," I said to her, "I don't have a sign." She looked at me quizzically and said, "you don't HAVE a sign?" "No," I said. "My only sign is the sign of the Cross." The look on her face said it all, she was horrified and she quickly finished up taking my payment and literally ran out into a side room. Interestingly, I had not pre-thought that, it came out of my mouth unbidden. Obviously, I was on assignment. But I think the part that stood out to me the most was the intense embarrassment I felt, knowing I was going to look like one of those weird fundamentalist fanatics to her and to anyone around listening, and that stung. I chided myself saying that If something that small was so embarrassing, what would happen if it were something serious? Would I buckle? I upbraided myself all the rest of that day over my weakness as shown in my feelings of embarrassment as everyone around just looked at me. It will always sting, because we live in a fallen human nature. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels (human nature), that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2nd Corinthians 4:7 To follow Jesus Christ is going to cost us. Rejection hurts. Embarrassment hurts. In your human nature you'll want to do whatever it takes to keep the peace ...but you can't make peace with the world. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household... And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:34-36, 38 Consider the embarrassment Jesus had to endure from those who ridiculed him as he hung naked and bleeding on a cross. Yet he could not, and would not stray even for a moment from the truth - no matter the cost.