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When you want to fit in…

I remember junior high.   Ah yes,  the time in life when it was a good thing they locked us up for three years; it was hormones gone wild!   I remember my best friend and I would talk for endless hours about the popular boys we had crushes on and how we wish we were the girls they would look at.   One day, my best friend got a new hairstyle and decided to give the popularity thing a real “go”.   She succeeded.  I watched my best friend become a completely different person.   We laugh about it now, because I did the same the following year.

It was sickening.  Finally in grade 11 I got some common sense and decided to live true to who I really was.   I lost quite a few “friends” but found out quickly how shallow those friendships really were.   But from all I lost, I gained a ton.  I gained self respect and a new group of friends who just loved Connie; quirks and all.

Funny how we leave high school thinking we’re finally free from the insanity of elitism only to find that the adults we’ve become still have these youthful mannerisms still attached – it’s just more sophisticated and diplomatic.

Looks like it even was around back in Jesus’ day.  Check it out:  “There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others; saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them.  Popularity contests are not truth contests…. your task is to be true, not popular.” (from Luke 6 in the Message)

Read that statement again: “Popularity contests are not truth contests…. your task is to be true, not popular” (Jesus)  Somehow Jesus knew that those who strive to be approved by others would lose at the truth-to-self game.  He reminds us of what He requires of us: to be true.  That’s it.   That doesn’t mean everyone is going to turn and approve you.  It doesn’t mean you won’t be left out, but what it does mean is that you’ll have something far greater and worth much more: truth.

Even Peter, Jesus’ disciple turned apostle, struggled with this.   He went from eating with non-Jews to sucking up to the Jewish leaders when they came to visit.  He feared what they thought more than being true to himself that he chose not to sit with the Jewish people.  Sounds like a high school lunch-room scene if you ask me!

I believe Jesus hates any taste of elitism.  For elitism to exist means that somewhere we believe that only certain people matter and the rest are just pawns.  How do you think our Creator feels about that?   The One who put the same Spirit in all of us?  I believe His heart’s cry is for us to see one another by the Spirit rather than personality or status.

I was troubled by this not too long ago and I was telling my frustration to God.  I felt Him say to me: “YOU create the kind of culture you want to live in.  I have given you authority to rule in life.  Stop whining and CREATE the atmosphere you want around you”.  Wow, good thought God!

I’d like to challenge us all to first choose to be true, rather than seeking popularity or status.  Then, if you’re not satisfied with the current atmosphere in your surrounding, change it!  Make it what you want it to be.   Stop caring about appearance and your own attempts to get ahead.  Christ isn’t impressed.  Be a rebel.   Sit with an outsider, eat with someone who is alone.  Create a culture that sees everyone by the Spirit, causing waves of inclusion.

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