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Illustration: Having many friends and being rich are great blessings, but popularity and success do not guarantee a happy life. To make this point, Solomon called attention to an elderly king who ignored the wishes of his subjects and was replaced. His young successor was popular at first, but he also fell into disfavor. Solomon concluded, "Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind" (Eccl. 4:16).
Life at the top is fleeting. Presidents and prime ministers may have extremely high approval ratings for a while, but they donít last. About 20 years ago I knew several top executives who were highly successful because of their winning personalities and outstanding abilities. Yet they lost their high-salaried positions because they could not keep up with the rapid changes their jobs demanded. Today, because of company mergers and corporate downsizing, many of their replacements have also lost their positions.
How we view popularity and success depends on what we value most. If we set our hearts on earthly things, we will eventually be disappointed. But if we set our hearts on Christ and live for Him, we will find that He is faithful to provide for our every need. (Our Daily Bread)
1. Jesus knew that a majority view is often not gotten until evidence of success is obtained- especially among the religious leaders. Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him when He heard that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law and that he must be killed. But Jesus rebuked Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men." (Mark 8:33) Ask the Lord to help you follow the will of God before you concern yourself with the consensus of some religious leaders.
2. Jesus knew that the ways of the world are often contrary to the will of God. The Lord Jesus said, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. If they persecute me, they will persecute you also." (Jn. 15:19,20) Ask the Lord to help you be willing to go against the stream of popular opinion to accomplish the will of God.
3. Jesus often pointed out peoplesí faults that upsets the majoritiesí opinion about Him. The great shepherd said, "The world hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. (Jn 7:7) Ask the Lord to help you speak the truth in love and grow up in all aspects into Christ regardless of the consequences.
4. Jesus taught that knowing the will of God involved a willingness to yield to His purposes over natural human tendencies. The Lord Jesus said, "If anyone chooses to do Godís will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." (Jn. 7:17) Ask the Lord to be willing to do whatever God asks you to do regardless of how politically correct or acceptable it might appear.
5. Jesus knew that His identity, responsibility and future lay in heaven and not on earth. The Lord Jesus said to the Jews & Pharisees, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world." (Jn. 8:23) Ask the Lord to help you base your decisions on your God given identity, responsibility and future in eternity.
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