Which gives you the greater satisfaction, receiving favor from others, or receiving favor from God? I suppose nearly everyone has at least some desire to be liked by others, but at what cost? Would your desire to be liked cause you to to compromise your convctions? Would your craving for the praise of men cause you to fail to stand up for Jesus Christ?
Living the life of a Christian necessitates that strife will come. Few, if any, people like confrontation; but confrontation can not be totally avoided. Living the life of a Christian necessitates that a person take a stand, however unpopular it may be. God never looks favorably upon a person who seeks to “ride the fence.”
Christians must speak out for God in the midst of an unbelieving world; stand up for Christ in the midst of a rebellious population; defend morality in the midst of an immoral society; and contend for the truth in the midst of a society that tolerates lies.
In light of the persecution that was to come, Jesus sought to encourage his disciples with these words. “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20).
Elsewhere Jesus taught, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
As Christians, we ought to develop the attitude of Peter who, whencommanded to cease preaching the gospel, responded, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
George Duffield, Jr. wrote the following words to a well know hymn, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.”
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;
If while ye sleep He suffers, away with shame and fear;
Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without,
Charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,
Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:
Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,
And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be;
They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.
Though it is doubtful that Margaret Thatcher’s words were spoken in the context of religion, an application can certainly be made. If Christians set out to be liked and stand for nothing, in the end they will have accomplished nothing!