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“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”  Luke 6:26

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account . . . for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:11-12

The Bible warns us against “an unhealthy craving for controversy” (1 Timothy 6:4) and guides us toward “the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:3).  That is clear, and wonderful.  But a glad hyper-focus on Christ might not keep you out of controversy.  It might take you there.

When Jesus said, “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you,” he didn’t mean it’s wrong to be popular.  He did mean it’s wrong not to be prophetic.  His “Woe” falls on those who turn their backs on the true demands of the gospel rather than turn their backs on the false demands of people.

I wish I could say that if you lift up Jesus in a positive, biblical way, everyone will love you.  But sadly, some will oppose you, because their hearts are captured by other passions.  They may even be captured by good but secondary biblical themes.  But if you maintain the primacy of Christ himself and submit all else to Christ, some people will not understand you, they will have “concerns” about you, they may even forsake you.  They will point to your weaknesses, which are real, and you will learn from your critics.  But your weaknesses are beside the point.  The point is the lordship of Christ alone.  He is the controversy.

When the Lord leads you into this difficulty, you will suffer.  But remember, he is saving you from the “Woe” of Luke 6:26 and pronouncing upon you the “Blessed” of Matthew 5:11-12.  Whatever others may say, Jesus speaks well of you.

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