Jesus speaking and from the Gospel of John 15v18-21 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the One who sent me.“
As Christian Disciples, those who proclaim that they follow Jesus Christ as the Son of God, we have a new identity. What are we to do with it? The Bible is very clear that we are to stay faithful to Jesus Christ, particularly when it is difficult! It means staying faithful to Jesus and His will, regardless of opposition and alternatives. By doing this we are standing alone and being faithful to Him. Satan brings pressure to bear on Christians to reduce their standards and commitment. Christian Disciples undergo challenges from those that either don’t like or understand us. We are constantly tempted to do wrong things or we are tempted not to do right things. Either way, we are tempted to sin against our God. So we are to be separate from sin but not separated from a sinful society. This is what Jesus meant when He said we are to be “In the world but not of the world” (John 17:15-19). The key to standing alone is to have constant identification with Jesus Christ in lifestyle and words. It is to have a permanent reminder that we serve a faithful God and that Jesus Christ is to be our Master. When we sin, either actively or passively, it is because we have some form of memory loss about who we are, if we call ourselves a follower or disciple of Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God.
Hindrances to standing alone
As we live the Christian life, as Christian Disciples we will face hindrances to identifying with Jesus. Here are three major areas that as Christian Disciples, we all undergo.
Firstly there is an inborn fear of what others will think – fear of being different and being laughed at.
Then there is the fear of losing friends. To have the right friends however, a person must be willing to have enemies. Jesus made friends on the basis of who would accept Him and His message. We may be excluded from the company of those who reject Jesus (Luke 6:26).
Another one is the desire to be like those in the world. In Psalm 73 David envied the success of the godless, until he realized their destiny was disaster; and that he had God and needed nothing else. Always taking what is best is no sacrifice.
How to stand alone
So if they are some of the hindrances, what are some of the keys in battling these hindrances? As Christian Disciples we have to remember God’s way of life is superior. It is a life filled with abundance according to Jesus in John 10:10! Then we realise that acting as light & salt in the world, you are co-operating with God and He is being glorified according to Peter in 1 Peter 4:12-14). Remember; if you give people no reason to ask about the hope and faith you have in Jesus, they probably won’t ask! Jesus said in His final words before His ascension in Matthew 28:18-20, that we are to expect persecution for being his Disciples. If that’s how we identify with our lifestyle how do we identify verbally with Jesus?
How to verbally identify with Christ
Never apologize for what you know and believe to be a superior way of life. However, that does not mean to be smug and arrogant about it because we are commanded to walk humbly and meekly. Then just be natural about it. As a college principle told me a long time ago and I still remember the words “Let your spiritual life be natural and your natural life be spiritual.”
One way to do this is to project the idea that you are not your own boss – Jesus is your Lord and let him take both the strain and glory. Remember that those who reject you also reject Jesus.
Making right decisions in questionable areas
Imagine you are in a situation and you have to make a correct decision in a questionable area. What do you do? Why not ask yourself questions and tell yourself statements such as:
- Does it bring glory to God? (1 Corinthians10:31)
- Can I thank God for this activity – could Jesus accompany me?
- Does it build Christian character? (1 Corinthians10:23)
- Will it cause another Christian to sin/stumble? (1 Corinthians8:9-13)
- It should not control me habitually (1 Corinthians6.12)
- If in doubt, throw it out. (Romans14:22-23)
- Ask other people for advice. It is important what other people think.
- Abstain from all appearances of evil (1 Thessalonians5:22)
- Rely on the Holy Spirit to help you! Ask for His help and guidance!
Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together. For more to do and think about please do read for yourself, John17:15-19.
Q1 – Have I given every area of my life to Christ in order to be faithful to Him?
Q2 – Am I prepared to be holy and obedient to God in all circumstances?
Q3 – Am I willing to sacrifice my desires for God’s Will, so that I can clearly be seen identifying myself with Jesus in lifestyle and in words?
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