Jesus loved people. But, Jesus did not live to please people. One of the ways Jesus impacted our world was by refusing to live to please the crowd. On one occasion, the Pharisees came to Jesus and said “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God.” Maybe it was sincere. Maybe it was flattery. But when you look at Jesus’ life, he clearly lived his life to please his Father alone.
The challenge for us as followers of Jesus is to do the same: To live for God and not be swayed by the crowd. This sounds simple, but can be quite difficult. Truth is not the majority opinion. But the majority opinion can be quite influential.
People act differently when others are watching. Something within us seeks the attention, respect, love, adoration, popularity and favor of the crowd. We’ve all been there. You did something stupid. Why? Because a friend talked you into it. Because you were pressured by a peer. Because you wanted to be accepted. Because you wanted to fit in. Yet God is clear: My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. (Proverbs 1:10)
Majority thinking can lead to miserable outcomes. The examples of this are endless: God was unable to find 10 righteous people to prevent the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. A group of spies that was overwhelmingly (83%) pessimistic, critical, disobedient, and fearful kept God’s people wandering in the wilderness for a generation. Many disciples decided to follow the world instead of following Jesus. So we must choose, each day to do what is true and right—regardless of what the crowd may think.
Jesus described two paths in life. One straight and narrow. The other crooked and wide. The latter is so much easier to follow, but in the end, it leads to destruction. One way to know the difference in the two paths is to pay attention to the crowd. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” If everyone else is doing it, that makes it suspect. So, disregard the siren song of the crowd. She’s fickle anyway. She never knows what she wants. One day she’ll love you, the next day she’ll leave you. And if you live your life trying to please her, you’ll find yourself miserable. Instead, choose to stay on the straight and narrow.
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. You do the right thing in God’s eyes. Do what pleases him. Live a life that seeks his will and lives by his ways. Stand for what he says is right. And stand up for what is right—even if you stand alone. Forget the crowd. Instead, live to please an Audience of One.