Obedience to Christ often comes down to whose reputation you care about the most. When God calls us to stand up for what is right, speak up for what is important, or be counted with his children the price will usually be debited from our account in the form of our reputation. On the other hand, obedience to God will promote the reputation of Christ. How many times have we refrained from the “right thing” because we were afraid of what people would think of us? Had we stepped up or spoken out, we would have in some way advanced the glory of Christ.
Jesus is the ultimate example of obedience at the cost of His own reputation, His own acceptance and popularity. Christ was singularly focused on the glory of the Father (Jn.17:4), but it led to increasing opposition, betrayal and rejection. Jesus knew His followers would wish for an exemption. However, the principle highlighted by Christ’s obedience can and is to be expected in our own lives. At one point, Jesus had to draw what should have been an obvious comparison: “If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated me first. No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (Jn.15:18, 20).
Therefore, when we are faced with doing right and we are afraid it may cause us problems, we need to remind ourselves that we are to care more about the glory of God than our own glory. We need to clarify that we should value the advancement of Christ more than our own advancement. We should resolve that Christ’s reputation is more important than our own.
Lastly, we must remember the injustice will be short-lived. One day God will eternally honor those who honored him (1Sam.2:30). He will purpose to serve those who served His cause (Lk.12:37). While the world may reject us, ridicule us and persecute us, we know that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweigh them all” (2Cor.4:17).