BC me (code for my “before Christ” days) found it difficult to swim against the current. Longing for acceptance, I had been known to compromise my ethics. For example, I remember being in fourth grade and admitting to doing something that I hadn’t done because I wanted to be “cool.” (Then I remember hightailing it home to ask my mom what that word meant.) She was using the electric mixer. Have you ever seen cake batter flying like rogue bullets up to the ceiling and onto the walls? I have!
That’s when she sat me down and had “the talk.” Boy, was I horrified when I learned what I had falsely admitted to doing!!!
I also remember in sixth grade I had been asked to sign a petition saying, with the crowd of cruel classmates, that I “hated” a certain girl. It was called the “Hate Beverly Williamson Club.” I didn’t hate Beverly at all. In fact, I quite liked her. Yet, I remember succumbing to peer pressure and signing that petition.
I also remember the remorse I felt afterward. The fact that I had “joined the assembly” (albeit reluctantly) pangs my heart to this day.
Then there was the time when I was called into the principal’s office my senior year. (I had made it almost to the end without being invited into that place of terror!) My offense? Cheating. A cute boy had asked for the answers to a test, and I couldn’t say no, dubiously scooting my paper to the edge of the desk, making it easier for him to copy, even though I knew it was wrong.
Then, a few years later … I met Jesus.
Suddenly I found myself swimming against the current almost on a daily basis. It’s not popular among people of the world to be a follower of Jesus.
We are often on the “wrong” side of the fence — have you noticed?
It goes against my nature to be on the “wrong” side of the fence!
Now I (this former coward) am being called daily to take up my cross and follow Him.
That’s how I know He is alive and living in me!
It goes against my grain to be a “peculiar person” …
but that’s who I am now.
A few years ago, I was confronted for not being a member of a certain organization. The challenge took place in a public setting in front of many witnesses. This colleague thought it unconscionable of me to not participate in a particular association and was coming down pretty hard on me. I tried to explain my reasons, but she was not accepting any of them. Then something rose up in me, and I heard myself say as calmly and tactfully as possible, yet with solid conviction, “So what I hear you saying is that I should compromise my principles? I won’t do it.”
And then I walked away amidst a throng of astonished onlookers.
Yes. Jesus is alive and He resides in me!!!
Every day, followers of Christ are faced with counter-cultural ideas.
This is not our home. We are aliens.
And that’s okay. Remember that whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4).
In the words of James L. Snyder (no relation), “It’s easy to go along with the crowd, but the one who is committed to living the crucified life will always lean hard into the wind of opposition and misunderstanding. … Living the crucified life … will be the most challenging thing you will ever face… The way forward is often lonely. But the rewards you will gain of knowing God and intimate fellowship will be well worth the journey.”
So let’s embrace the challenge! Let’s hang in there, beloved sojourners, knowing our citizenship is in another Place. Let’s continue to press forward, regardless of the difficulties … and in spite of the cost.
Our Homegoing is imminent … and the Banqueting Table awaits!