“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
It is hard being an outsider, isn’t it? Nobody wants to be the outcast. Just about every human being on earth enjoys being liked. We all like are likes don’t we? As Christians, we are not called to be liked by the world. In fact, the world will hate us because we preach about Jesus Christ. The world hates us because we have an enemy who “prowls around like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8), and he causes that hatred to well up in the hearts of those in the world.
There are many nations in the world where preaching the Gospel can not only get you hurt, but it can get you killed. Check out this list of restricted and hostile nations to the Gospel:
That is a long list! If you live in those countries, then it is very dangerous to be a Christian. It is actually just like the constant danger the Apostles, Disciples, and followers of Jesus lived through.
Listen to how the Apostle Paul explains it to the believers in Corinth:
“For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.”
1 Corinthians 4:9-13
Interesting imagery from Paul’s time speaking about how the Romans killed people in their coliseums. The men at the end of the procession were the gladiators that fought to the death. Paul endured many torturous beatings and imprisonment for the Gospel. He was also killed for it. He was a faithful soldier for Christ all the way to the end. There are still Christians today going through the same things.
Christians here in America do not have to worry about any of that usually. People might get mad or think we are nuts, but generally people just ignore us if they don’t like what we have to say. We don’t hear about too many people getting hurt or killed because they are Christians. We have had violence against us in recent years along with all the other madness in the world though. My prayers are still with all the families of the horrible church shooting in Texas.
The Lord told us to expect all of this. In John 15 Jesus is speaking with His disciples and He explains the hatred the world has toward Him and those who follow Him.
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
The world hates us because we are not of this world anymore and people can see that. We act and live differently because of the Holy Spirit inside of us. We say things that sound crazy to the world, and they think we are foolish.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18
It is foolishness to them because they don’t believe in the One who sent Jesus. It makes people mad because they know they have no excuse for their sin now that Jesus has come. People do not like being told they need to repent, and they hate us for it.
In verses 20-23, Jesus says:
“Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well.
That is why the world hates Christians. That is why I used to hate Christians before I accepted Jesus in 1996. That hate comes from the evil one who is in the world.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
That is a perfect description of who I was and how I used to live! Satan is the ruler that Paul is talking about in his letter to the believers in Ephesus. He is the ruler of the kingdom of the air and the spirit of disobedience! That is why people hate Jesus and hate us without cause.
“If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.'”
Jesus speaking in John 15:24-25
Yes, it is hard and sometimes deadly being an outsider to this world, but at the end of it all I would rather be an outsider in Jesus Christ than an insider in eternity without Him! Amen! There is nothing this world has to offer me that I miss. Money, liquor, girls, popularity, parties–forget about it! I lived that life and I danced with Satan, and all he ever tried to do was kill me!
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”
If you are a believer in Jesus that is feeling the pressure of being an outsider to this world, just remember, you might be an outsider here, but you are an insider of Heaven! We are called to be outsiders while we serve Him here, but we have a home waiting for us that is beyond all we could ever ask or imagine!
Grace and peace to you all! Stand up and stand strong in Jesus and don’t back down!
Shout out to Lecrae for the “I’d Rather Be An Outsider” logo!