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Monday, February 6, 2017

But I Want To Be Liked

Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭13:50-52‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/act.13.50-52.nlt

The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” 

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. 

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭7:54-60‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/act.7.54-60.nlt

***

I confess. I want people to like me. I want them to have a positive opinion about me. I want them to tell me that they like me. I don't want anyone mad at me. And I certainly don't want them to ever be offended by me. 

But as a follower of Jesus, I can't be guaranteed any of that. The early church in the book of Acts did many wonderful, supernatural things. But they didn't win over every person's affection. Nope. In fact, they offended and angered some people so much that mobs were formed to chase Paul and Barnabas right out of the city and literally went as far as stoning and killing Stephen to death! 

If these followers of Jesus were worried about social acceptance, they were in for a tough ride. BUT THEY WEREN'T. They were in it to do the will of the Father and let Him love through them. They were in it to see the Gospel preached and spread. They were in it for God's approval, not man's. They lovingly moved forward as God instructed them, but didn't worry who would or wouldn't like them in the process. 

Here's the thing we need to remember. There is a spiritual warfare happening all around us. It's the fight for souls. God wants His kids back and the devil and all his minions are doing all they can to block and stop that from happening. When we choose to serve God, we are going to face opposition and hate simply because we have partnered with God in His battle. But we must remember that when people resist you, it's not You they are resisting. It's God in you that they are resisting. We must keep in mind that just as Jesus wasn't liked by all, neither will we. But this never stopped Jesus from loving and doing the Father's will, and neither should it stop us.

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