“There is comfort in many” says a popular adage. But is that really true? There could be great deception in many as well. The Bible urges us not to follow the broad way that has lots of people on it, but which leads to destruction. Rather we should follow the narrow way which is often lonely, but that leads to a safe destination.
We live in a world where most of us make decisions on what others tell us or what we see others do. If ‘every one’ is becoming materialistic, we assume we have to do same otherwise we may be seen as ‘old school’.If ‘everyone’ is having extra-marital affairs, cheating, stealing, taking bribes, … etc, we often feel pressured to join them because we don’t want to look different.
Regardless of how wonderful our reasons are for joining the crowd in unrighteous living, we will not truly enjoy the blessings that God wants to bestow on us. Let’s briefly look at some people who broke out of the crowd in the Bible and hopefully be encouraged.
Blind Bartimaeaus: This is the story of a blind beggar who upon hearing that Jesus was passing by, shouted for Jesus to help him. It is interesting that when he shouted, many people told him to keep quiet, but guess what? He shouted even louder! Jesus finally noticed him, and He healed Bartimaeus. I’m sure that on that same road where he was, there were other beggars. Some blind, some crippled. But only he got his miracle, because he just wouldn’t be like the others, who were content to sit still and do nothing. His destiny was too important for him to be like others and miss out of the opportunity to get better.
Joshua and Caleb, were the only men of military age who left Egypt, who were privileged to enter into the Promised Land. Why were they so honoured? Because these men chose to be in the minority when they gave their report to Moses and the Israelites when they spied the Promised Land. For daring to be different from the other ten spies, the Bible says that they were almost stoned to death by the Israelites who believed the fearful report of the other spies. But they got to enjoy the benefits of living in Canaan.
Daniel, Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego were the only Hebrew noble men who refused to defile themselves with the foods from King Nebuchadnezzer’s table. As a result they were blessed by God above all others. I can imagine them being laughed at by their colleagues who were also undergoing training. They must have asked Daniel and his friends “are you better than us?, are we not also Hebrew noblemen?” But they refused to listen to them, they just kept on being different.
Apostle Peter, who was the only one who stepped out of the boat when he and the other disciples saw Jesus walking on water. He must have looked presumptuous and silly to the other disciples when he asked for permission to step out and actually did. But he didn’t let the looks on their faces bother him, he knew what he wanted and he went out for it. As a result, he became the head of the early church even though he was not perfect.
These people must have experienced scornful looks when they dared to do something different. They must have been called names and even threatened by others who didn’t understand why they chose to be different, but they didn’t let what other people said keep them from going after God’s plans for their lives.
It’s the same thing today, people will be uncomfortable when you refuse to join in their crude jokes, or take part in their sinful lifestyles. They will treat you badly and make you look stupid. But like the many witnesses who have gone before us, we can choose to maintain our ground and only do what God tells us to do instead of what the crowd demands.
Not everything on social media or the news is to be followed, not every celebrity or idol should be imitated, don’t make decisions based on what you watch on TV shows, rather look to God. Even if that makes you look old-fashioned and unpopular, so be it. Your destiny is too great to be sacrificed, just so you can belong in a crowd which is often confused and blind. We belong to God and there is a great multitude of heavenly hosts cheering us on, even though we might feel alone on the narrow way.
God made us, He knows the best for us, and there is nothing new before Him. His commands are for our protection not to imprison us or deny us a good life. If we will choose to follow His ways, even though unpopular, we will enjoy true blessings that the world and its crowds cannot give.
May God help us become wiser every day, amen.
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