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If you’re living someplace where you can’t openly follow Jesus, get out of there.

Jesus never told us to stay where God’s Word wasn’t welcome. On the contrary – Jesus told us not only to leave such places but to shake the dust off our feet as a warning.

He himself left Nazareth with just the clothes on his back.

We, too, should be just as ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

Too many Christians think their “cross” is to live among unbelievers, especially relatives. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus said: “Who is my mother? Who is my brother? Those who do the will of my Father in Heaven are my mother, sister and brother.” And: “He who loves mother or father… son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.”

As for those who preach that you should “bloom where you’re planted” – did Jesus bloom where he was planted? Did John the Baptist? Did Paul?

When you’re born again, you become a Heaven-bound being whose home is no longer on Earth and whose allegiance is to God and his Word, not to family and country.

During his ministry years, Jesus showed us what that looked like. Did he show partiality to his blood relatives? No. He had nothing to do with his blood relatives until after they acknowledged he was the Messiah. Did he hunker down in Nazareth, start a church, and expect everyone to come to him? No. He moved from place to place, and preached and healed only where he was welcome. Did he adjust his beliefs to suit whoever he was with at the time? No, he preached the same Word and the same message, even when his words were “hard” and “offended”.

We are followers of Jesus, if we are genuinely born again. We are not to alter our beliefs so as to not offend anyone, and if our beliefs do offend, we should pray for the people who are offended but not spend time with them. The more time we spend with them, the more likely we are to change our ways, not theirs. Know temptation when you see it.

Does that mean we should set ourselves apart, like the Pharisees? No. You can be polite and pleasant, but the less time you spend in the company of unbelievers, the better for you and for them. The time you would spend with them, pray for them instead. You are not better than them (we are all equal and equally loved in God’s eyes), but you are different from them. You can shop in the same stores as those who don’t share your beliefs, but spending time with them is only possible if you compromise your beliefs. It’s better, in that case, to spend your time with fellow believers or alone with God.

During his ministry years, Jesus lived among those who were like-minded. He went out into the world and preached the Good News, but he lived among those who were like-minded. As his followers, we’re called to do the same.

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