Failure and Success: The Scramble for Popularity
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.—Matthew 5:11-12
Popular Judaism slew the prophets and crucified Christ. Popular Christianity killed the Reformers, jailed the Quakers and drove John Wesley into the streets. When it comes to religion, the crowds are always wrong. At any time there are a few who see, and the rest are blinded. To stand by the truth of God against the current religious vogue is always unpopular and may be downright dangerous…. Christianity’s scramble for popularity today is an unconscious acknowledgment of spiritual decline. Her eager fawning at the feet of the world’s great is a grief to the Holy Spirit and an embarrassment to the sons of God. The lick-spittle attitude of popular Christian leaders toward the world’s celebrities would make such men as Elijah or George Fox sick to the stomach….
Lot was a popular believer. He sat in the gates of Sodom. But when trouble struck, he had to send quick for Abraham to get him out of the jam. And where did they find Abraham? Out on the hillside, far away from the fashionable crowds. It has always been so. For every Elijah there have always been 400 popular prophets of Baal. For every Noah there is always a vast multitude who will not believe it is going to rain.
We are sent to bless the world, but never are we told to compromise with it. The Next Chapter After the Last, 20-21.
“Lord, give me the spirit of Elijah; give me the faith of Noah. Deliver me from the scramble for popularity and strengthen me to serve alone, oblivious to the roar of the crowds. Amen.”