Have you ever tried to negotiate with someone who makes demands but gives nothing in return? It's frustrating! What's more, it's infuriating. They demand that you do everything their way, but are not willing to meet you where you're at. What is most sad about this statement is that many of us who follow Christ are doing this all the time. Consider what we say when we claim to be a Christian: we're telling the world "I am a little version of Christ." And yet we don't show the world His values: we argue, we fight, we demand our own way, we throw scripture out the window, and all for what? So that we can get people to like or even love us.
Yet, here's a newsflash (does anyone use that phrase anymore?): if someone loves you only because you're changing your values for them, it's not a relationship, it's a hostage situation. By saying "I will love you if you bow down to my will" is reminiscent of Satan's temptation of Christ: "All this I will give to you [the kingdoms of the world] if you would bow down and worship me." Satan was trying to get Jesus to affirm his rebellion, to validate his choices, to bend from His Father's will. Jesus didn't budge, and neither should we. I'm not talking about the silly argument "Do you still follow Kosher laws if you're a follower of Christ?" That argument is dead, and has more holes than swiss cheese. Jesus didn't die for us to follow rules. He died to remove us from a world in rebellion against its creator.
This world has nothing for us. It's passing away. Jesus lived in prefect obedience, and became the curse of our rebellion , so that we would have a place in His Kingdom. He died to put an end of our rebellion, and He rose again so that we may be made New, restored in to the image He designed us to be. The more we negotiate with the world, the more we lose that image, and return to what Jesus died to destroy. It's time for us to stand firm in Christ, soundly upon His Word, so that we may walk in a manner pleasing to Him. The world is not our friend. It does not and will not love us if we follow Christ. But if we stand firm, remaining faithful, placing all of our hope in Jesus, He will see us through to the other side. Just stay faithful. He's coming back to make all things new. Philippians 2:1-13 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.