WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 8, 2022
TOPIC: THE DANGER OF CHASING POPULARITY
BY T. O. BANSO
“But, after the lapse of two years, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and, wishing to gain popularity with the Jews, he left Paul a prisoner” (Acts 24:27 Twentieth Century New Testament).
The quest for popularity is so pervasive these days, especially because of the dominance of social media in the lives of most people all over the world. The advent of social media has proved beyond doubt that the world is now a global village. Any communication in the remotest part of the world can go viral within minutes.
Many people are taking advantage of modern information and communication technology to chase popularity. They project themselves to the world by publicizing their activities and opinions just to become popular. In the desire to be popular, many people throw caution to the wind in what they do or say, or even how they appear. Some engage in nudity.
Some people express their views on everything possible and post all manners of things, including personal things that morality should tell anyone should not be brought to the public. But because their sole purpose is popularity which may also earn them more money, they continue in this practice.
There are all manners of people in this game of chasing popularity: entertainers, people-pleasers, perverts, philanthropists, etc. Because we live in a broken world and wrong values are being celebrated in many societies, popularity chasers tend to do negative things or engage in weird behaviour, which they know will attract public attention. The content that many people put out in the social media and conventional mass media in seeking popularity is in the realm of oddity.
Some social media users chasing popularity flaunt whatever worldly things they have or pretend to have acquired, which attracts others to join the popularity race. They continue to seek many shares and likes on social media and consider the large following they have as an achievement because of the financial reward it may translate to. They also use the conventional mass media for the same purpose. I am not saying that it is a sin to use social or conventional media or that every use of these media is for the sole purpose of popularity. Neither am I talking about the use of the media to market products and services.
People can be popular for good and bad reasons. Popularity involves pleasing the people you want to gain their attention and acceptance. That means you must do what will please them whether it is right or not. And not only that, you must also continue to do what will please them to remain popular. This may or may not involve the use of the conventional and social media.
Indeed, those who love others, as the Bible says, tend to have a good reputation among people but their purpose for loving others should not be to be popular. A Christian should love everybody and do good deeds but not with the sole aim of being popular.
A Christian should not start a noble cause and allow certain persons to pollute his motive to be chasing popularity. They should not be influenced to embrace worldly ideas and practices that will appeal to the world. I have heard about some Christian musicians told by their producers or those packaging them to be singing, dressing, dancing, and sounding like secular artists to be popular with the attendant financial rewards. I hope it is not true.
No Christian should chase popularity or the world’s attention, acceptance, or endorsement. Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26 New King James Version). It is not the business of a Christian to purposely seek to be loved by the world. That’s contrary to what Jesus said. He said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22 New King James Version). It is not strange for the world to hate Christians. The apostle John said, “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13 New King James Version).
When you give your life to Jesus Christ, it means you are ready to live a new life in Him, which sinners would not like. The apostle Peter said, “Of course, your former friends are very surprised when you no longer join them in the wicked things they do, and they say evil things about you. But just remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:4-5 New Living Translation).
Don’t chase popularity. Otherwise, you’ll join sinners in their way of life; you will become their friends. Proverbs 12:26 says the righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. Don’t let the wicked lead you astray because you want to be popular. Don’t be deceived; evil company corrupts good habits (1 Corinthians 15:33).
If you want to be popular as the world, you will do like the world. And friendship with the world is enmity with God; whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4). As 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, you should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Righteousness has no fellowship with lawlessness and light has no communion with darkness.
Be careful! Your goal in life as a Christian should not be popularity. Don’t be influenced by the world. Popularity does not mean impact. Many people are popular but not powerful. And even those who make an impact make only a negative impact.
Beloved, don’t seek to please men so that you’ll be popular. Seek to please God. Whether people know you or not is not important. There are some Christians today that are popular but it was never their goal. Their popularity is just a byproduct of pleasing God. But that doesn’t mean that everybody that pleases God will be popular. Paul urged the brethren to “also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (1 Thessalonians 4:11 New King James Version).
Let me stress this, particularly for servants of God and those who have been provoked by some motivational speakers to seek popularity like some renowned ministers of God, including music ministers: popularity is not the same as God’s endorsement or approval of a person’s life. Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22-23 New King James Version).
Chasing popularity should never be your goal. If you chase popularity, you will conform to this world, which the Bible warns against. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 New King James Version). If you chase popularity, you will live your life always seeking to please men. You will not want to offend them. You will want to be politically or socially correct. Paul said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 New King James Version).
Both Felix, the Roman governor of Judea, and his successor, Festus, sought to gain popularity with the Jews instead of ensuring justice was served in Paul’s case. Chasing popularity will not allow you to do the right thing. Acts 24:27 says, “But, after the lapse of two years, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and, wishing to gain popularity with the Jews, he left Paul a prisoner” (Twentieth Century New Testament). Also, Acts 25:9 says about Felix’s successor, “But, as Festus wished to gain popularity with the Jews, he interrupted Paul with the question: ‘Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried on these charges before me there?’” (Twentieth Century New Testament).
Furthermore, if you chase popularity, you will continue to be under pressure – peer pressure, societal pressure – and make poor choices. You will never be able to live your true life but a fake life. You will be in bondage because you won’t be able to do what you really want to do but live to please others. You will also be engaging in popularity contests with others. Those who chase popularity never become who God wants them to be; they never fulfil their destinies. They live an empty life full of only hype – just a façade.
Eventually, they will be shocked that their popularity is temporary! After a period, they will discover that people’s attention is no longer on them. From a celebrity, they’ll become a nonentity! They’ll become insignificant. People won’t know or care if they still exist. Losing popularity is always painful. Victims will live, regretting their past. They realize the foolishness of forfeiting their destinies to chase what does not last. They can suffer depression because of neglect by people.
Pursue God’s purpose for your life; don’t chase popularity. It is vanity.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I come against the desire to chase popularity in my life instead of seeking to please God. Holy Spirit, help me to focus on pleasing God and not chasing popularity. Deliver all those who have abandoned their destinies to seek the praise of men. Let them return to You, seek You, and pursue Your purpose for their lives.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947