…But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith,… (Hebrews 11:35-39 NLT)
All through history, the believer and the church has earned their reputation from an uncommon life of faith. Sometimes that faith has been a conquering faith, some other times, it has been a faith that simply refuses to surrender. The question that we need to answer today as believers is whether our reputation similarly comes from an uncommon life of faith.
Our struggle today (in most parts of the world) is hardly ever against stoning, being sawed in half, imprisoned, slaughtered. The war the devil is waging against us today is much subtler; he has simply convinced us that the way to populate the kingdom of God is to become cool. ‘Cool’ meaning to simply clone every carnal pleasure that is being hankered after by the world, brand it King James Version, and declare it sanctified and proper for Christian consumption.
And so we have ‘worship concerts’, complete with paparazzi and red carpet. How did we decide that ‘worship’ and ‘concert’ can fit in the same sentence. Isn’t worship complete abandonment as a people gaze upon the glories of the almighty and sing of it to him? Are concerts not events that we attend to watch performers do their thing? For worship, it is the blood of Jesus that makes a way into the holiest and though there will be an innumerable company of angels (Heb 12:22), it is concerts that have red carpets and paparazzi.
We even have reality shows: the world wants to select its Idol and so must we. We have our own gospel singing competition, complete with judges and prizes. We forget that Christian music is sung to God and that it is he alone who can judge the heart and intent of the singer and reward with appropriate prizes. In our hurry to match the world and show just how cool we are, we forget that singing the gospel is a MINISTRY just like preaching the gospel and not simply a talent. At this rate, we should soon have a preaching competition to select the best preacher and of course a praying competition to appoint the ultimate prayer warrior.
This our unquenched desire to be cool is like the Israelites who while heading for the promised land kept longing for the onions and cucumbers of Egypt. It is like Lot’s wife who found Gomorrah so irresistible that she took one final quick look – it proved fatal! She became a monument to those who try to keep one feet in the dark and the other in the light.
To rely on the world and its fads for direction says one thing about us and says it most eloquently, we do not know who we really are. To be the children of the Most High who CREATED the entire universe and to have the mind of Christ and still go around looking for ideas to copy from the world can only mean that we do not know who we really are.