“Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” -1 Peter 4:4
Recently, I was watching a family show called “Little House on the Prairie” in which one of the children was so bright that he stood out from the crowd to the point of winning blue ribbons over the rest of his class. As the storyline goes, the smarter he was and the more accolades he would receive, the more his friends would get angry at him to the point of physically fighting with him.
When the smart kid asked why his friend was mad at him, he answered the question, “Because every time that you win a ribbon for being so smart, you make the rest of us look bad and my parents get mad for me getting bad grades.”
What he was really saying was that he was lazy when it came time to doing his own due diligence and that he did not want to study as hard as his friend did (Proverbs 1:7). This other kid didn’t care about his schooling whatsoever and because he didn’t care, he did not want others to make him look bad by getting good grades (Romans 5:19).
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” -1 Corinthians 15:33
He would have rather wasted away his life on things that were vain and frivolous rather than doing what was right in building himself up (Jude 1:20), in honoring his parents and pleasing them with his accomplishments.
“Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;” -Ephesians 6:12
What this disobedient boy was really exhibiting was where his heart was at and what it was set on.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” -Matthew 6:21
Believe it or not, because this smart young man wanted his friend’s approbation (approval) more than his father’s, he started to emulate his friends just to be accepted.
“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:43
I see a lot of this in the Church. Because you walk according to the Word (Luke 13:24), you hear things like, “Are you a separatist? Do you think that you are holier than thou? Are you better than us? How come you are not going along with the rest of us?” And more. I even had one guy call a meeting with the pastor where he complained that everything that came out my mouth was the Word of God. No kidding. Of course, the pastor rebuked him and told him that is what should be coming out of my mouth and what we are all called to do.
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ.” -Philippians 1:27
As for me, the bottom line is that I just care more about the presence of my Heavenly Father and walking in the light of His countenance than I do to be a part of following the proud, cursed pack.
“Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from Thy commandments.” -Psalm 119:21
Scripture says when following Christ that…
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” -John 7:17
This is so that we may “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).
We as Christians are to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:15).
We are not to “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).
Furthermore, the Bible tells us, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” -Romans 12:2
We, as Christians, are also to know how to possess our vessel in sanctification and honor (1Thessalonians 4:4).
The Lord said, “…it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Why, you might ask? Because gratitude for what Christ did for us on the cross (John 3:16) leads to holiness.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” -1 Peter 3:18
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” -2 Corinthians 7:1
As we press on day by day, we understand that it is a work of the Holy Ghost as we obey that form of doctrine that has been given unto us (Romans 6:17).
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” -Romans 7:24-25
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” -1 Corinthians 9:27
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost…” -Titus 3:5
Remember, King David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
Question: Did King David care about the praise of men when it came to his walk with the Lord? Not at all! He cared more for the approbation and approval of the Lord than that of men (John 12:43), which is the opposite of most men today.
King David did say about who his friends were, “I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts” (Psalm 119:63).
The lesson here is that we walk the strait and narrow as we continually seek the face of God regardless of whether or not our walk offends anyone because we prefer His presence in all things and over all things.
“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” -Psalm 27:8
As the story goes, the little disobedient boy sought out the short cuts when it came to doing his own due diligence and was caught cheating on his tests. He did so in order that he might rise to the level of expectation, at least in a feigned manner, to meet his parent’s approval. In the end, he was caught and repented only to understand the importance of doing his own due diligence.
“For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” -Psalm 128:2
The moral of this story is at the end, the smart boy who received the blue ribbons for getting high grades, finally realized the error of his ways in trying to fit in with all the other underachievers and learned the importance of staying on par, regardless if others were offended at him in doing so.
Become an insider!
Sign up to get breaking alerts from Sons of Liberty Media.