No. The Gospel isn’t popular even though it’s the best news you’ll ever hear in your life. Jesus isn’t people’s homeboy. Being a Christian isn’t trending, though 2.2 billion people profess to follow the faith. That’s less than 30% of the world’s population, but is still the highest ranking religion in popularity. But, being a true Christian isn’t something the masses flock to. Even those who claim to be of the religion aren’t always true believers or followers of Christ’s example with fruit to prove it. I wonder how many will have the rude awakening at the end when Jesus says, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” We cannot profess to be a Christian and live a habitually sinful life, approve of or promote abortion, or simply attribute the title to ourselves without actually following the commands of Christ.
“If you love Me, obey My commands.”John 14:15
We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (after we have believed by faith in Jesus, His death on the cross for our sins, His resurrection from the dead, and His coming again). This means to carry out to completion what He began in us. We do this by obeying His commands. God makes this easier on us, knowing our humanity, by giving us a way out when we are tempted and by working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure (See 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Philippians 2:13). He does this by giving us the gift of His Holy Spirit to help us in every way (See John 14:16).
Our reasonable service to the One who gives us our very life and the hope and promise of eternity in heaven is to obey Him (See Romans 12:1, John 10:10, and 1 John 5:11).
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”1 Timothy 6:12
Speaking of Timothy, there are some gems hidden in Paul’s letter to his son in the faith. Paul is in prison when he writes this letter, and tells Timothy (considered a timid man) not to let his emotions and fear keep him from preaching the Gospel, which at the time was incredibly unpopular (hence why Paul was in chains and felt the need to write this letter). He exhorted Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel, of the Lord Jesus Christ, or his chains for the Lord. He advised him to be ready for his own suffering and persecution and to live a holy life in service to King Jesus.
Right now, there is a slight persecution of the church. There are many in hiding for fear of inconvenience. It isn’t popular to be a Christian right now, or even to go to church indoors or worship together outside of all things (people were arrested in Idaho for this very thing, and pastors are under a huge pressure from counties and states to not have indoor services – including being fined and being threatened with jail time).
For the most part, though, itching ears want to hear convenient things that will stroke their emotions and make them feel comfortable and well-liked by the world. But friendship with the world is enmity with God (See James 4:4) and the Gospel isn’t comfortable. Our walk with Christ isn’t a frolicking walk in the park. It’s a narrow gate and a difficult way which leads to life, and few find it (see Matthew 7:13-14)! This life of following Jesus is one of taking up our cross and laying down our “self” with it’s lusts and passions and desires (See Galatians 5:4) because those who have suffered in the flesh have ceased from sin (See 1 Peter 4:1).
“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.”John 16:1-4a
Paul said everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived (See 2 Timothy 3:12-13). But you must remain faithful! Look at what’s happening in the world (in America, even). What Jesus talked about is happening to a degree. It may be that we are in the last days, the beginning of the beginning of the end. We must preach the Gospel, popular or not. We must preach Christ and Him crucified and risen and coming again. We must preach heaven and hell, that sin leads to death and separation from God, and that life eternal comes only through Christ Jesus our Lord. We cannot be cower in fear or hide so we aren’t inconvenienced. We must rise to the occasion, stand for Christ (it’s the least we can do for the One who laid down His life for us), and share the Good News with whoever will hear it well (See 2 Timothy 2:2b).
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not…don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord.”2 Tim 4:2a & 4:5b
So, is Jesus trending? Not in the world. He won’t be until the day of His coming again (See Matthew 24:44, Revelation 22:20, Revelation 22:12, Matthew 24:42, 1 Peter 4:7, Revelation 3:11, Acts 1:10-11, etc.). Then everyone will know (See Revelation 1:7). Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord (See Philippians 2:10-11, Isaiah 45:23, and Romans 14:11).
I can’t wait for that day, but until then, Jesus has to be trending in our own lives. Everything has to be about Him and must be for His glory. Don’t be afraid. He’s with us always, remember? Even to the end of the age (See Matthew 28:20).