Stop trying to be popular

Not one single person I know wants to be unpopular. Not one. In fact, nearly all of the people I know are likeable, and well-liked. (I say "nearly" because we all know there are some grumps out there - in everybody's life!)

So is this a bad thing? Especially for Christians? Aren't we called by Christ to love others, to do good to all, to be kind and generous? And that kind of behavior makes us popular, right?

Ummmmmm maybe not.
At least that's not to be the goal.  Check out what Jesus said in Luke 6;26 -
Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers treated the false prophets.

I don't like it when someone doesn't like me. It bothers me. I want to fix it.  Maybe you are the same way.

Recently, I asked the Lord for some help in one of these situations and His answer surprised me. As you might imagine, it had way more to do with my own heart than that of my UNfriend.

There is alot of Truth packed into this one verse. And it pours out at different angles. Let's unpack it to see some of what God has for us in it:

1. Being popular is not something to seek or even to desire. Jesus says "woe to you when all men speak well of you" - this lets us know that being popular will bring sorrow, not joy. Woe, not blessing.

2. Jesus equates being well spoken of by everyone with the life of a false prophet. That is dangerous! Elsewhere, He tells us that false prophets devour people instead of loving them, led others to destruction instead of to Him, and are everywhere. (Matthew 7:15, 24:11,24)

3. What is it about false prophets that puts them in the Scriptural thesaurus with desiring to be well-liked? The idolizing of self.

Gulp.

When our goal is to be popular, we are actually worshipping our own SELF. And when that goal is blocked, our heart is revealed. Do we fret or get angry or even seek retaliation towards someone who mistreats us? Do we accuse them of being unlikeable themselves and even try to discredit them with others?
 Do we try harder to win them over, to move them from disliking us to liking us (or at least to neutrality!)?

Or do we examine our own hearts and see what is there...

If we are being mistreated because we are living so much like Jesus that it makes someone uncomfortable, we are to rejoice. (Matthew 5:10-12)

If we are disliked by someone because there is a problem between us, we are to go to that person and make it right (Matthew 5:23,24)

If, however, we are uncomfortable because someone's lack of love for us blocks our goal of popularity, then we are our own problem. We have an idol. And that calls for repentance.