1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV)
12 “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
When people think of idolatry, the first thing that comes to mind are the people of the Old Testament and their worshiping of idols made from wood and stone. We wonder how they could deceive themselves with these objects. Idolatry is making anything more important than God, and our lives are full of that temptation, even today. Some examples of today’s idols are money, looks, success, reputation, security, and even popularity. These idols promise everything you want but nothing you need.
In today’s society, people are popular only if they have the right looks, the right clothes, a certain amount of money, have so many followers and likes, date a certain person, or drive a certain car. The lines are pretty clearly drawn. Lots of people are on the other side of every one of those lines, including me.
Growing up in school this really bothered me. All I craved was popularity. I tried to fit in with these cliques, but I ended up losing myself somewhere along the way. There was a time where I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. Literally. My attitude was horrible and insincere towards others and I only cared about myself and my new so called friends. Nothing about me was Christ-like. I just wanted everyone to like me.
My perspective changed when I realized that it didn’t really matter whether the kids in my school thought that I was cool; what mattered was what God thought of me. If I wanted Him to think that I was great, I had to forget about fitting in and just focus on pleasing Him. I still wasn’t considered one of the “popular” people, but that didn’t bother me anymore. I was getting to know God, and because of that, I knew that I was popular with The One whose opinion really mattered.
“Never compromise your faith to fit in. Don’t conform to the ways of the world or condone sin. Renew. Transform. Share faith. Be an example.”
- Don’t allow popularity to twist your perception of your own importance. It’s easy to be humble when you’re not on center stage, but how will you react to praise and honor?
- Often those who try the hardest to become popular never make it. But the praise of people is not that important. Don’t spend your time devising ways to please others so you will be accepted in the public eye. Instead, strive to do what is right and both God and people will respect your faith.
- Those who are concerned about building a name for themselves risk losing the very recognition they crave. We should be concerned for righteousness, honesty, and excellence, and leave the fame up to God.
- Those seeking the wrong type of popularity are more concerned with criticism than encouragement, with their own appearance than helping people, with outward respectability than practical help. God is concerned for all people. The Christian life is not a popularity contest! We need to follow Jesus’ example and share the Good News with the poor, lonely, and outcast-not just the good, talented, and popular.
- Obeying God may not make you popular. Read Matthew 3:7-10, Mark 6:27, and Luke 3:19-20.
- Never be so popular that you are ashamed of Christ. Read Matthew 10:32-33.
- Be more popular with Christ than with people. Read Luke 14:25-27.
- Jesus was not popular. Read John 17:14-17.
- Believers must stay away from some popular activities. Read 1 John 2:15-17.