Do you try to gain the esteem of the world? Are you concerned what others think of you? Would you like to please crowds? I think we all would like to be well liked. But how far are you willing to go to gain acceptance?
These questions rose as I combined two very different writing prompts I received today: ‘remember’ and ‘crowd’. Not a very likely pair. But they got me thinking. What do we need to remember? Crowd pleasing is not a worthy goal for Jesus followers? Gaining the world is so not worth it?
With the words of A.W. Tozer “Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.”
The esteem of the world or crowd pleasing is not worth the effort. What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul, right?
A. W. Tozer guides us this way “Humble yourself and cease to care what men think. A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather,… he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over.”
But the best guidance comes from the Scripture. The Amplified Bible opens up these verses nicely:
And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me]. For whoever wants to save his [higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God]. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life [in the eternal kingdom of God]? For what can a man give as an exchange (a compensation, a ransom, in return) for his [blessed] life [in the eternal kingdom of God]? For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words in this adulterous (unfaithful) and [preeminently] sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory (splendor and majesty) of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:34-38, AMP,*)
We are called to forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of ourselves and our own interests. We are called to focus on God. We are called to lose this temporal life and crowd pleasing efforts for Christ. We are called to embrace suffering and obscurity instead.
Now very inviting words at the first glance. Denying yourself is very much counter cultural. It’s the opposite of what the world profess. But the words of Jesus include a treasure like no other. When we lose our lives because of Jesus, we will be blessed beyond measure. When we embrace Christ, we gain eternal life. Now, that’s a worthy goal.
So it really does not matter what crowds think of us. Remember, the only thing that matters is what God thinks of us. And if we are in Christ, we are his forever.
Enable us to forget what others think of us
and focus on you and your ways.
Empower us to follow you no matter what.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you try to gain the esteem of the world? Are you concerned what others think of you? Would you like to please crowds?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you follow Jesus no matter what!
* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.]