Despite wanting to be liked or fit in, Christians should not fit into the world. Romans 12:2 tells Christians that they shouldn't conform to the world but rather have their minds transformed and renewed. Jesus explains the concept of being separated from the world in John 15.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.The first step to standing up for your beliefs is recognizing that even though you want to fit in with others, the reality is that by the very nature of being born again, you are not of this world. You are of the Kingdom of Heaven. You should be different.
Is losing favor with the world a sacrifice? Yes—and no. It is in the sense that since people want to be liked, they are choosing to give this up to honor God. However, in some aspects it isn't a sacrifice when considering the only reason Christians must be different from the world is because they are destined for eternity in heaven. They've chosen to make their home in another world, so it only makes sense that they would not fit in on this earth. "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14). You wouldn't expect the Native Americans to understand the cultures of the Englishmen back in the 1600s? or the hobbits of Middle Earth to get along very well in the Star Wars galaxy, would you? Even the elves were different from all the other beings in Middle Earth, because they were destined for another place, separated from the rest of their present dwelling. So why hope that Christians could be friends with the world when they are different at the core of their beings?
However, in the sense that it is a sacrifice, is it worth it? I would have to say that it is. After all, our savior gave His life so that we could be different. The sacrifice of not being liked by the world is nothing compared to the sacrifice of His very life.
This is the conclusion that California college junior Isabella Chow came to when faced with supporting the LGBT agenda in late October. As a student senator at UC Berkeley, she was asked to vote pro-LGBT, but she refused, based on her Christian beliefs. She provided a five paragraph statement explaining her views, and clearly explained how she felt about people involved in the LGBT movement. “I have said, and will always say, that discrimination against or harassment of any person or people group is never, ever okay” (Lee). The onslaught of criticism Chow received for abstaining from the vote was tremendous. Sophia Lee, reporter for WORLD Magazine, describes it this way:
Heads turned when Chow walked across the campus, and her cell phone beeped with social media alerts. Disaffiliation notices piled into her email inbox. Online, people compared her to the KKK and called her “a terrible example of Christian hypocrisy.”Despite the intense attacks from every direction she faced, thanks to the prayers and support of her fellow Christians, Chow remained steadfast in her conviction to not give in to the pressures. Her world was turned upside down, and she is still battling the results of her decision. Her sacrifice was great. Nevertheless, Chow refused to cave. She knew that she must stand for her beliefs, even if it meant losing her position in society.
Similarly, the American missionary, Andrew Brunson, who was recently released from 21 months in Turkish prisons, was willing to sacrifice everything—including his very life, to stand strong for Jesus. He was quoted as saying "Sometimes it's harder to live for God than to die for God. I would rather have been in heaven than in prison" (Belz). In fact, he considered himself a "living martyr" (Belz). While imprisoned, he remembered Richard Wurmbrand, who endured years of torture at the hands of the Romanian government, and later founded Voice of the Martyrs. Wurmbrand had praised God through his continued struggles, and Brunson imitated him by dancing before the Lord in his cell (Lee). Despite the extreme hardship he faced, he made the difficult choice to continue his stand for Christ.
Over the years, many Christians have chosen to defend what they know to be right and true, at great personal cost. But the majority of Christians often fail to honor their Lord in this manner. Their fear holds them back. Don't you think Jesus was afraid of the pain and separation from His father at the cross? Don't you appreciate His sacrifice made especially for you?
Maybe you're currently in a situation where you have to make that hard choice to stand for God or not. Maybe soon you'll find yourself in a place like that. Only you can decide what to do, but know this: there is no sacrifice you can make that even compares to Jesus' sacrifice for you. Christians are called to be a light in this world—to be different. The Christian life is anything but easy, but as Paul said in Romans 8:18, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Sacrifice now to honor your God. Make that hard choice to do what you know is right. Just as Brunson was encouraged by Wurmbrand's example, so Christians everywhere can draw strength from the stand of Isabella Chow. Will you be one of the few who will step up to the plate, prepared to be a "living martyr?"
Will you stand?
Belz, Mindy. "'A Living Martyr.'" WORLD Magazine. 24 Nov. 2018: 37-42. Print.
Lee, Sophia. "Convictions and Consequences." WORLD Magazine. 20 Nov. 2018. WORLD Magazine Web. 3 Dec. 2018.