Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Opinions of Others

One of the great dangers is listening to the crowd.  One of the most difficult thing about walking on water can be ducking rocks from people still in the boat. I am convinced that one of the great barriers for many of us in reaching out to share Christ is worrying about what the people around us think.  Jesus was always being looked at askance for being too friendly with tax-collectors and sinners (Luke 19:7).  We can have a fear of people saying the same things about us. "Look at who that person has for friends."  Or sometimes we can have the opposite fear--that people will think we are some kind of fanatic if we tell people about Christ.
We need to be willing to share Christ, even if the crowd may not like it and even if the people we try to witness to reject us.  Now I am not saying we should not consider how to best present God's truth, and I am certainly not saying we should be obnoxious or unloving.  Nor should we be deaf to all helpful correction.  But I am saying we should not let fear paralyze us and keep us from sharing Christ with those who desperately need to know him. To do this, we need to have our eyes firmly fixed on God, not on the crowd.  Elijah the prophet courageously stood for God in his time, predicting drought and calling fire down from heaven.  But after this he made the mistake of looking at the crowd and feeling he was the only one following God. (God later corrected this misconception). He fled into the wilderness and went into a state of depression until God confronted him and brought him out of it. (For the whole story see 1 Kings 17-19.)  Therefore, if we want to carry out Jesus' mission to  seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), we need to focus on God, not on what the people around us will think.

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