Saturday, November 26, 2016

hype

I don't know about you, but whenever I get on the Internet, whenever I turn on the television, whenever I listen to the radio, whenever I read a newspaper or magazine... I quickly find myself exhausted.

There is just soooo much I'm being pushed into buying!
There is just soooo much to absorb.
So much commotion.
So much distraction.
So much talk.
So much noise.
So much, ughh... hype!

hype: to create interest by flamboyant or dramatic methods; to promote or publicize showily; to intensify (advertising, promotion, or publicity) by ingenious or questionable claims and/or methods

It seems to me that in many Christian circles the quest to generate hype and increase bottom lines with the mighty, coveted dollar has tainted the simple joy of sharing the message of the Cross... and ONLY sharing the message of the Cross! I personally refer to these promotional schemes as "ME-making". You see, rather than quietly drawing the attention to God's throne in both reverence and humble obedience, today's Americanized mission field has quickly emerged into an opportunity to publicize and/or increase personal fame and fortune. To this, I must share my concern: Have we invited back the money-changers that Christ boldly drove out of His temple? Have we allowed our selfish desire to wheel and deal, thus cheapening His sacredness and belittling His exposure to a lost and dying world?

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “'My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'” (Matthew 21:12-13)

Like Coke vs. Pepsi or Ford vs. Chevy, I am noticing that more and more Christian associations and, well, cliques... are going to great lengths to aggressively compete against one another as they strive to appear more "hip" (and unfortunately more worldly) while advertising their "latest and greatest" for the gospel's sake. But is the gospel their true focus? Or is God only a means to increase someone's next sales forecast while beating the competition?

I frequently find myself cringing when I read the Words of my majestic King trivialized in warm/fuzzy romps of fictional bliss and/or fluffy news feeds. Or when I hear about His glory "granola'ized" in varying Woodstock-like faith concerts. Or when I see His holiness emotionally "Oprah'ized" in the many feel-good spiritual conventions and workshops. Or when I'm invited to further know His perfect peace by joining Pastor/Speaker so-n-so on their next expensive "cruise ship extravaganza of reflection." Really? These things are what God wants me to spend my time and resources on? What about the poor? What about the needy? What about the lost? What about the widowed and the orphaned?

Even more personal, what about those in my own family, church, community? Shouldn't I be seeking less of man's motivation and sharing more of God's glory and grace with those I encounter and with those I know who desperately need my Redeemer? Do I really need all that other distracting stuff... all those buzz-worded words? Doesn't my Creator promise to bring nourishment to my bones and provide everything I need while I remain steadfast in living out His perfect Word?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

Consider this: Did Jesus intend for His people to be fed by entertainment, or to evangelize in His Name? Does God call us to become emotionally high, or to be eternally helpful in advancing His kingdom? I wonder if our churches are filled with believers who are actively and obediently studying the Bible while selflessly sharing the Savior's free gift to all the world... OR if we are all stuck in the commotion, distraction, and noise of the next Christianized "thing" available via ebook or at a bookstore near you? Such "things" become sin when they rob God of His glory and distract us from His purpose, folks!

So, are we drowning ourselves in hype? Are we cheating His sacred temple for the sake of our selfish desires? For aren't WE His living temple? Knowing this, why continue to allow our time, resources, and focus to be distracted by the motives of anyone other than the Lord?

As someone devoted to remain steadfast in sharing the free gift and glory of my King... and ONLY my King, I fear that I am in the minority when it comes to ministering in such a way that continually honors ONLY His Holiness. Too many folks have grown accustom to accepting, and being influenced by the "ME-making" and promotion-seeking opportunities of Satan. And the enemy will continue to monopolize the entryway to our temple hearts if we do not stand firm and boldly follow Jesus' example to overturn every table set up by wickedness.

To those influencial in ministry, I will speak frankly. It doesn't matter if you know Bono or the President of the United States. It doesn't matter if you were once recognized as a celebrity on television or are rich and famous. It doesn't matter if you are the son/daughter of an evangelist or associated with a particular group/organization. It doesn't matter how likeable or charismatic you come off or how good you can sway others into feeling. It doesn't matter if you have the skills to sell millions of dollars worth of product for your publisher, charity, church, convention, etc. etc. etc. The bottom line is this: when all is said and done, God does not care about YOUR hype. If you are not glorifying His Name in all you say and do... if you are not loving Him with all your heart and bringing all attention to His throne... if you are not trusting Him to provide for all your needs... if you are not freely sharing His hope to those reduced to nothing along with helping those who have nothing... if you are not obedient and submissive to the Master... then you are not ministering for the sake of Jesus. You are ministering for yourself and changing monies outside His temple.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed - an accursed brood! These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. (2 Peter 2:1-3; 13-14; 17-21)

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Friends, I implore you to carefully consider if you have allowed yourself to be distracted by the noise and commotion of ungodly hype. If so, today is the day to stand firm in Christ and overturn every distraction that surrounds your temple heart. It is time to stop feeding ego and emotion and instead live devoted for the sake of God's call. Today is the day to live for Jesus, believer. TODAY IS THE DAY... ALL FOR JESUS!

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify YOUR name forever. (Psalm 86:12)

Hallelujah to the King of kings!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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