In today’s culture of technology and advancement, there is a constant temptation for one-upmanship. The world cries for something flashier: better effects, better actors, better music, better gadgets, more (and more concise) books, nicer cars. The church responds in a flood of gadgetry. Lights, cameras, action. Better albums. Make your films higher quality, and your music more cutting edge. Quote philosophers, welcome guests with better coffee roasts, study the Bible in bars. When your ministry is consumer based, there is much competition, and a million ways to “win” - for a time. “We must be heard somehow”.
However, what the world is truly looking for, and what the church needs, is not a flashier presentation of the gospel, but a simple demonstration of true holiness. The world has seen our gadgetry and is not impressed. They didn’t cry out to God when the fog machines came on. Our more cutting edge music and films distracted them from the message rather than drawing them to it. The Word never says, “let your lights so shine, that people may see your good equipment and praise your Father who is in Heaven.” It says, “Let your light so shine, that people may see your good works and praise your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Amusements are not a Biblically sanctioned drawing card! Our good works are.
Even worse, we have let these things distract us from the message of the gospel and the person and power of God! While gadgetry has increased to the heavens, holiness has gone to hell. The only reason that we need such spectacular displays of technology is that we have lost the joy of knowing God. As Leonard Ravenhill said, "Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy."
All of our gadgets are superfluities that will soon be “yesterday’s best”. You can only be “at the top of the line” for so long before someone else cuts in front of you. There is one thing, however, that never looks any older, and never loses relevance: true, humble holiness of heart. Let us bleed! Let us live as true people saved by a true savior! Our insincerity is awful. We are as technologically advanced in heart as we are in equipment. We are not only religious - we are robotic! In many cases, we are less holy than the world is, and a million times less sincere. Christ, whom we claim to serve, taught utter denial of self and preference of others. Is our Christianity God-centered and others-centered, or me-centered?
We are far from dead to ourselves - squirming on the cross, holding onto our lives. We haven’t begun down the straight and narrow. We’ve never had a crucifixion. The hammer falls and we move our hands. They try to place the crown of thorns, but we duck our precious heads for fear of pain.
Let us die! Take the cross! Take the nails! Is there a world at stake, or are we the only ones here? Were we saved only for our own entertainment, or so that we could be living vessels of salvation? Are we not the flesh and blood representation of Jesus Christ in the earth? Did Jesus so conform to the methods of the world? Did He create a religion of entertainment, or of sacrificial love? Can we not be more honest? More true? More godly? More devoted? More loving and kind - from the heart?
Oh, Lord, help us to be like you.