"Unpopular"

Have you ever noticed how people tend to like firefighters more than police officers? Every day, these brave souls are willing to face the flames and put their lives on the line for us, and they don't issue speeding tickets or take us to jail.

Police officers in Joseph Wambaugh's novels often say something like this to each other: "Well, if you really wanted people to like you, you should have been a fireman." While we definitely want the police to be present if someone's threatening our well-being, we don't always appreciate seeing their flashing lights in our rearview mirror.

In a similar way, following Jesus doesn't always draw the admiration of others. While He doesn't call us to be the world's moral police force, part of the path that Jesus summons us to walk will cause others to dislike us.

The New Testament warns us, "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). As His followers, we will suffer for advancing His kingdom. In fact, some of the very people we are trying to rescue from the kingdom of darkness and invite into the kingdom of light will despise us.

If you find yourself taking a lot of grief for your Christian beliefs, you're in good company. Jesus emphasized to His disciples, "If the world hates you, remember that it hated Me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. . . . Since they persecuted Me, naturally they will persecute you" (John 15:18-20).

Following Jesus may not make you popular, but suffering for His sake is a part of the blessing of becoming more like Him (Philippians 3:10). , Jeff Olson, Our Daily Journey

CLICK HERE to visit OurDailyJourney.org