Is being a Christian popular at your job or on your campus?
My nephew Aaron serves in the military, and I am proud of him for serving our country in this manner. It is not always the “coolest thing to do,” and that is concerning. I have read many stories of young men and women volunteering to serve in the armed forces, only to be scorned and ridiculed by their friends and family members. Some people say things like, “You are not serious, are you?” Fortunately, amid terrorist attacks like the Boston Marathon in April, a renewed sense of patriotism grows and people like Aaron become a source of pride for others.
I have noticed that the attitude of others toward faith in Jesus changes as well. In a crisis like the death of a loved one, many people gravitate toward faith, prayer, and God, wondering where they are. Yet they often ignore the fact that they have done little to cultivate a faith that is real and matters. It’s no wonder they have little to lean on and the presence of a minister, or even Christian friends, seems awkward and a bit clumsy.
Whether we receive congratulations or criticism when we committed ourselves to follow Jesus and His teachings, our promise to love, learn from Him, as well as follow Him, will be tested as the opinions of those closest to us, and the popular culture, change like the daily weather. Isn’t it interesting to watch the ebbs and flows of people’s ideas, attitudes, and behavior about faith, especially when trouble comes their way? They often ridicule us, with very little tolerance.
Read 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5.
Timothy, a young college graduate and marketplace minister, was a man committed to knowing Christ and making Him known in his sphere of influence. Once day he received a letter of instruction and encouragement from his spiritual mentor Paul, who reminded him to remember what he had become convinced of and to live that way because that was the way of wisdom, based on the authority and power of the Bible. Paul also urged him to, “Preach the Scriptures with intensity; be prepared in season and out; stay on guard and challenge, warn, and urge your people to not quit following Jesus…with careful instruction and great patience” (2 Timothy 4:2).
The phrase “be prepared in season and out” is one I can relate to as a former athlete who competed year round. It made transitioning from sport to sport easier due to the condition I kept myself in. The phrase basically means “when it is convenient and when it is not, regardless of feelings” (or whether it is cool or uncool).
How you live your life for Christ should not be determined by the popularity of Christianity in the media, the attitude of campus officials, or your close friends. We’ll have times of celebration, enjoy mutually supportive relationships, along with amazing times to share the Gospel freely. But there will be times when we must take a lonely stand for our Lord. As the pendulum of popularity swings, I urge you to stay true to King Jesus in your heart, mind, and your actions.
Whether being a Christian is cool or uncool where you are, “be prepared in season and out of season” and God will provide the strength you need. How can knowing that it’s right to keep following Christ help you through difficult times? Think theologically. It’s better to be prepared and know what you believe and stand for, than to be cool.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz