Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; shame has covered my face. Psalm 69:7
Being zealous for God is not always a comfortable place to be. Friends ostracize you and family members dissociate themselves from you and deny you. Reason? You no longer do what you used to do; you don’t do what they do, you speak against some of their behaviors, and you take it personal and sometimes feel offended, when the honor of God is maligned.
People often find it hard to handle such commitment to God by people close to them, as it often speaks against their own permissive and sinful lifestyles. They would rather you roll in the mud with them than live a sanctified life that is directly opposite what they stand for. The Psalmist here laments about the ill treatment he got from his close relatives because of his zeal for the Lord’s house, i.e. for pursuing after the things of God. Jesus made it clear in John 15:18-25 that as long as you are not conformed to worldly systems, you will be hated without cause just like they hated Him without cause. Additionally, II Timothy 3:12 reveals that those who desire to live a godly life in Christ will suffer persecution.
So, it shouldn’t surprise you that some people just dislike you for doing right; they ostracize you and call you names, and often make you feel that something is ‘odd’ about you. Satan’s strategy is to wear you out with shame, and discourage you from following Christ. Do not succumb to the pressure to compromise and conform to worldly standards. Men may pass you over for promotion where you work because you could close the doors to corrupt practices; they may exclude you from certain deals because you insist on best practice; your fiancé may end the relationship because you won’t compromise and defile the ‘marriage’ bed; you might be the most qualified to get a contract in a government agency yet it goes to another contractor because you will not give kickbacks.
All these and more are the price you pay for being a disciple – a follower of Christ. However, regardless of all these, Jesus still expects you to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him, because that is what truly identifies you as His disciple (Luke 9:23).
Following God passionately and living Godly is tough work in this perverse world we live in. However, it is worth it because Jesus promised that such a person will have in this life, families, lands, houses, etc., and in the age to come, eternal life. Don’t get discouraged, God gets zealous about those that are zealous for Him.
By Your grace Lord, I receive strength to stand and continually stand as Your disciple, regardless of the pressures of this world. I deny myself of worldly pleasures for the honor that comes from serving You; and where You are, that is where I will be in Jesus’ name.