In our culture, where styles, diets, and habits change frequently, young Christians often try to make Christianity “trendy.” While I appreciate their sentiment and their devotion to the Gospel, it’s important to remember that the Gospel is never trendy.
Christianity won’t be trendy for various reasons, especially as stated in the Scriptures. We’re assured that our faith will offend others, and the truth we base our beliefs on will go against the prevailing culture in many ways.
Christianity is counter-cultural by nature.
Our faith goes against the culture by calling an individual to lay down everything and follow Jesus. We are called to be completely selfless, all trusting to a God we will meet face to face in Heaven, and overly generous to those who persecute us.
Additionally, the very idea that we are called to love our enemies as we love ourselves (Luke 6:27) goes against what society calls us to believe: that people deserve the suffering they get and that if someone hurts us, we should inflict that suffering on them in return.
We as Christians are not called to give others “what is coming to them.” We are called to live in peace with others (Romans 12:18), and allow God to fight our battles (Exodus 14:14).
This is not always the easiest thing to do, but following Jesus requires us to trust that we do not know best and that God is going to take care of our needs.
Christianity is offensive to our flesh.
Now, the word offensive may be setting you off and making you question what I truly mean here. I want to reiterate that Christianity is offensive… to the flesh. This means that the flesh, our sinful selves without Jesus, will be offended or provoked by what Jesus states we must do.
Instead of spending the extra twenty dollars that you might have made waitressing, Jesus may convict your heart to give it to your annoying coworker even though they don’t deserve it. Or perhaps God may ask that you give your expensive leftovers from your fancy dinner out to a homeless person.
Jesus calls us to work against our selfish selves and work for his kingdom– which seems like crazy talk to non-believers. Forgiving those who have hurt us, giving to those who need more than we do, and offering our time when we feel we don’t want to are all examples of how our hearts may be offended by what Jesus asks of us. However, this is just another example of how selflessness through Christ is counter-culture.
Persecution is guaranteed.
Jesus predicts persecution and trials for us on Earth and the hatred that we experience is because of who He is in us. “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19 CSB). The world will always mock Christianity: This much is guaranteed. Because this is a known fact, we can say that true Christianity will never be popular.
We see the same thoughts described in 2 Timothy. “In fact, all those who live a Godly life will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 CSB). This supports Jesus’ message in the Book of John that as followers of Christ, we will encounter hardships and be disliked by others.
The path of following Jesus sets us apart and we must accept that it’s an inherent part of our Christian journey that cannot be avoided.
The Big Idea.
Simply put, as believers, we must accept that our faith won’t align with mainstream ideals. While the world benefits from Christians practicing what Scripture teaches, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will adopt our beliefs. Due to our calling from God in a sinful world, the world will never fully grasp the depth of our faith unless they embrace it themselves.