Popularity is a good drug.
It doesn’t cost much. It’s not too hard to come by. And it feels really good.
The only problem with popularity, or playing the approval game, is doesn’t last forever. It only lasts as long as your ability to maintain it. And maintaining it is very difficult, because, well, pleasing people is exhausting.
Here’s the other setback about popularity: It’s not good for change of heart and life.
And Jesus is always talking about changing your heart and life in relationship with him. Jesus saw through popularity. In a instance when his popularity had spiked, Jesus said these words:
Happy are you who are poor,
because God’s kingdom is yours.
Happy are you who hunger now,
because you will be satisfied.
Happy are you who weep now,
because you will laugh (Luke 6:20-21).
Jesus had a different understanding of happiness. In contrast to people in his time who thought that having lots of friends and advantages meant God was on your side, Jesus said, God is on everyone’s side, especially those who are down and out. Jesus cast a vision of a deeper joy in God’s kingdom and will.
The Son of God invites us to deepen our roots in Him.
As Lent continues, may God help you to see popularity for what it is: a good drug that won’t last. May Jesus be your joy. May your heart and life change for the Good.
*Discipline 3: Implement or increase a practice of sabbath. Set one day apart as a day where you cease from working, especially the work of pleasing people. Focus on resting in God through prayer and Scripture and enjoyment of God’s creation and redemption. Deepen your joy through sabbath.
Image: via mwanasimba at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Filaos_%C3%A0_lHermitage_(3670381385).jpg (Creative Commons)