I think the data is clear--that is, the fact is that people want to be liked by other people. It is human nature that no matter what stage of life we are in, we all care to some degree what other people think of us. The desire to be liked is more often at its peak during the teenage years, but even as adults we compare ourselves to and try to impress our peers. As believer's, we must be careful not to live our lives to please people rather than to please God. Therefore, we should do a “self inventory” from time to time and even allow other mature Christians to offer objective help in this area when necessary.
In Luke 21, Jesus is warning His disciples of what is to come. Jesus is up front with them that in no uncertain terms if they choose to live the life of Christ, they are forfeiting an easy, comfortable life. In fact, the text says they will give up the approval of man. Furthermore, they will need to endure the betrayal, persecution, and hatred of man. As a I contemplate the words of Jesus to His followers, perhaps the most shocking news to them was that this betrayal would not only come from Christian-haters, but also from those closest to them.
Parents, brothers, relatives and friends would not only betray them…but would kill some of them because of Christ. Unfortunately, this was the case as history records. This is precisely what would happen following Christ's ascension back to the heavenly Father. Most people believe that all of the 12 disciples, with the exception of Judas (who killed himself) and John (who died of natural causes) were martyred for their faith in Christ.
In the immediate context Jesus promises them, But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:18-19). These verses provide great comfort that not even a hair on your head will perish because, by standing firm, you will gain life. Maybe you are asking, how is that possible? Look carefully, Christ’s promise wasn’t that a hair on their heads wouldn’t be harmed, but that it wouldn’t perish. By standing firm in the faith, even at the risk of death, Christ’s disciples gained what men can never take away – eternal life. This is why the Apostle Paul said, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21).
Are you willing to give up relationships for the sake of Christ? Is His approval the most important to you, or are you living to please other people? You see, following Jesus has a cost and this cost is different for each person. What have you given up to follow Christ?
Dear Father, You are worth whatever I may lose on this earth for Your sake. Thank You that what I gain is eternal. Please help me to be faithful to You, even when it is hard. Make me willing to follow You even when doing so brings mockery or hatred from people in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.