Not a surprise to many I know! But they say confession is good for the soul.
Going through Jesus’ “last word” to the seven churches in Revelation 2, I was reminded that, in order to follow Jesus, there will be times when we will have to be very different from what’s popular, cool and chic. What follows is from something I wrote about seven years ago, and it still holds true today.
I’m a total nerd.
I realized this a few years ago (I know-some of you are thinking “what took you so long?”).
I went to see the latest iteration of Star Trek (Chris Pine version) on opening day. “So that’s when you realized you’re a nerd?”
No….and don’t interrupt.
It never occurred to me that going to see the newest Star Trek at 11:30 am on opening day qualifies you for nerdom (nerdum? nerd dumb??)!
So I’m sitting in the theater, by myself, on the front row of the main section (not the front row front row, but the second front row – still painful).
The theater is full! Packed! I’m thinking “What a freak show! Bet they all have Spock ears on! Sitting in the theater on a Friday morning.” “David – is THAT when you realized you’re a nerd?” No, no, no. I was too busy looking down on everyone else.
It came about half way through the movie. All the way through it (and I’m not recommending it at all) there are all these inside jokes. Jokes that you’d only get as the result of misspent years of sitting in front of the TV watching old Star Trek reruns…which I did from about 1972 until 1979 or so (age 10 to 18), making cardboard tricorders and phasers, etc.
Then I had an earth shaking moment. I’m thinking “Wait a minute! Only total nerds get these jokes…and I’m getting them! Could it be? Moi…a nerd?”
OK OK, not so earth shaking to anyone who knows me. Just confirming what my wife told me whenever I did that Spock “live long and prosper” sign.
I texted a friend after the movie: “Good movie! And I’m a total nerd.” He texted back simply “yes you are.” God’s love was all over him – encouraging me like that.
“So David, you’re a little slow on the uptake – finally realized something that anyone who knows you has known for years. What’s the point?”
Well my point is…no one wants to be a nerd – an outcast, an undesirable, a drip, or a loser! We want people to love us and need us and think we’re fashionable and always wear bedazzled jeans and have fantastic hair.
A lot of folks really really worry so much that Christians are looked down on by the world. Like if we were really really REALLY doing Jesus right, the world would love us, CNN would do a “we just love Christians” spotlight at the top of every hour, and all would be sweetness and light in the world.
OH…just one problem with that theory.
In Revelation 2, Jesus speaks to seven different churches, and every single one of them is a. persecuted (to death in some cases) for being different from the world, or b. Being scolded by Jesus because they’re not different from the world.
Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:18 (ESV) Sounds like if you love Jesus, are a born again, true blue follower of His – there’s a good chance you’ll be more like the outcast and less likely to be voted “most popular”. First century Christians understood this as they were smeared with tar and set on fire to become human lampposts in Nero’s gardens.
So what do you do with THAT? Here’s the deal:
It’s much more important to be popular with Jesus than with the world.
You will not be able to maintain mass appeal and be for Jesus all the time. Not according to Jesus. But come on, think about it. At the end of the day…at the end of the age…being popular with Jesus is much more important because the end of this age is only the very beginning of forever and ever and ever and ever. This life is only a moment in the scheme of things.
So keep your head up! Don’t be different just to be different -that’s annoying, but be different to be like Jesus, even if it means that sometimes you might get called out, left out or become unpopular. Like 1 Peter 4:14 says, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
The most important thing – be popular with Jesus.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV)