It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
Hold fast to HIM regardless of anything else. No social convention, no political convenience, no monetary compensation, no creature comfort, easy living or anything else should supersede Believers following God.
And Jesus is our example for following God, serving Him, and holding fast to Him. So, Jesus explains to us the cost of such a lifestyle in John 15:18. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
Disapproval by the world is the result.
The “world” hates Jesus. They don’t want to know about him, for it would be admitting their own sins, mortality, faults, and limited imagination & capabilities. They’re just to prideful to consider the humble offer of forgiveness even if eternal life goes with it. They hate it because their master hates it. And we all know who their master is as described in Ephesians 2:2. It is Satan.
You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil--the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.
Satan blames God and likes to make sure his followers do the same. Ever hear of Nero? (Here’s a link if you need a quick refresher: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/nero.htm ) He was horribly evil. During his reign, Christianity was spreading and what they were sharing was in direct contrast to the popular vices of the day. A great polarization occurred. Sound familiar? So, when the great city of Rome burned for 9 days, leaving people greatly devastated, what did he do? He blamed the fire on the Christians. Blaming Christians sounds familiar too.
What does our greatly polarized nation do during socio-political unrest? Blames the “right wing,” the conservatives, the used-to-be-called-isn’t-true-anymore Moral Majority. Anyone, any politician, or leader with any inclination at all to follow God’s ways are to blame. It’s such a brilliant scheme.
Look at this government shutdown we currently face. “Why don’t those extreme conservatives just give in so the shutdown can end?” The people with the morals (acting on behalf of those whom they represent - aka: doing their job properly) are to blame for the hold up. Why isn’t the responsibility of the “other side” to give in, or at least stop being so cruel on purpose with what they’re shutting down. They have to shut down Amber Alerts and throw elderly vets out of parks that aren’t usually closed anyway to show the world how mean and crazy those on the extreme right are being when reality is that the Left is oppressing it’s very own constituents by working so hard to shift the blame.
Nero may not have set the fire in Rome, but he didn’t do anything about it and let it burn for his own personal advantages. And then he pinned it to a group of people that stick out because of their lifestyle. And the reality is that persecuting all the Christians did NOT make life in Rome ANY BETTER at all!
If there is a shutdown, political standstill, social unrest, zombie apocalypse or anything else, it won’t be the fault of the godly. It never was before, and it never will be. It is the fault of those who react badly to the choice of godliness and choose instead to follow the ideas of the Enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). And even though it’s their fault, we all know who’ll get the blame.
2 Timothy 3:12 confirms, In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Nero just happened to be the first to do it on such a large scale, and he wasn’t the last.
I’d like to pray for the public officials who are honestly trying to do a proper job and to protect the people who are trusting they will stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. I pray that you would help them to continue to be bold because I bet it’s really really hard. I pray for friends I know in their workplace undergoing mild persecution as well as the friends we’ve made who are out in the mission field undergoing major persecution. Lord, help us all to remember that following YOU is better and the Enemy and his ways NEVER makes life better regardless of their promises. I love you and thank you for protecting us in the midst of what will always be an ongoing battle. And I pray in your Son’s name, amen.