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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
February 14, 2004

     Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens - skip like a lamb, if you like! - for even though they don't like it, I do... and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this.

     There's trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests - look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.

Luke 6:22-23, 26 (Message*)

Real spiritual truth is bound to bother some people. Today, people in many parts of the world are risking their safety and even their lives by living and proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. We certainly shouldn't go around deliberately annoying people, but if we stand firm in the truth some people are sure to be offended. Those who put their trust in the things of this world, or in false religion, find the Gospel offensive.

The central lesson for us in these passages is at the end: "Your task is to be true, not popular." We need to keep our eyes on Christ, seeking in all things to follow His ways. We must avoid the temptation to judge our success by worldly approval, riches or power.

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2004 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 21-Feb-2004 20:26:44 EST