There are a lot of blogs, articles and conversations that circle around the topic of ‘Christian Celebrity.’ I find it pretty interesting that the Church now has ‘celebrities’ that are only ‘famous’ within the church. If you ask any non-believer who Chris Tomlin, James Dobson, and Tim LaHaye are, you’ll get a blank stare. It’s even more mind blowing that there are hundreds and thousands of people who are trying to ‘break’ into the Christian realm of celebrity with their blogs, records and books; solely to become ‘famous.’
Now, they would never say that outright. It would be masked by saying, ‘I want what God has put on my heart to be heard’ or ‘I have a deep passion for ____ and God is using it to impact the lost’ when the truth is their books/records are only being sold in Christian bookstores never reaching the hands of the lost and is simply inflating their infatuation to be ‘heard’ and only heard by other Christians.
The reason this fires me up is because I’ve had the same passion and desire deeply rooted in me almost my entire life. I wanted to be famous, bigger than Elvis! I had no other reason for wanting to be known other than to be known, which translates into ‘I have deep-rooted idolatry in pride.’ It was always about me and what I wanted. I played shows to make me famous. I led worship to make me famous. I acted to make me famous; all the while slapping a loose fitting Christianity sticker to everything I did to cover my tracks.
In Romans 12, Paul talks about the unity of the body of Christ and being members of one another. What we’ve done is taken this passage and sectioned it off into ‘most important to least important’ in a practical way to serve our selfish desires in the church, and the interesting thing is I don’t see ‘Worship Leader’ ‘Executive Pastor’ ‘Youth Pastor’ or ‘______ Pastor’ in there anywhere. I fully believe that those positions are important in the church today and would go as far to say we need those positions filled to serve our community well, but it’s when we get wrapped up in the status of those positions and the seductive lure of entitlement that we begin to construct idols in our lives and deconstructing the unity of the body at the same time.
In his book, ‘Unceasing Worship,’ Harold M. Best unpacks Romans 12 and says this,
‘Being members one of another is not a mechanical arrangement, this part interlocking with another, the whole somehow greased up into smoothness. Rather, being members of one another is organic. In a love-driven community of believers, no one should be able to find the seams.’
When we project our faith in Christ for the glory of ourselves and not for Him, not only are there seams, but those seams are busting with pride, arrogance and disunity. If our sense of entitlement either in our role in the church or lack thereof becomes our focus instead of Christ crucified and resurrected, we have some serious heart checking to do with the Holy Spirit. To put it more bluntly, if being a Lead Pastor, Worship Pastor, Christian Recording Artist, and having people know you for what you do is more important than giving God glory and pointing people to Christ; take a week off and see if anybody notices. Chances are, you’re bigger in your head than you think you are. I know I was.
Am I calling us to retraction of public exposure in the vein of the ‘Christian Industry,’ no, but does anyone else find it interesting that there is a ‘Christian Industry?’ As if God chooses to dwell in a duality of His presence being only in this place, but not that place. His Spirit moving in this song, but not that song? Have we so pressed down our view of God that He exists only in the radio stations found between 88.1-91.1FM?
My observation is simple and pointed at me directly. Let me not be misunderstood in what I’m saying because this all stems from a place in my personal heart where I feel convicted. I simply wanted to share it with you all to examine yourselves as well if you may or may not have the same tendencies as I do.
Am I living to glorify God or myself?
Do I still struggle with pride, wanting to be known, fame? Yes…but it’s beginning to expose just how really sinful I am, and just how perfect and holy God is. He’s been so gracious enough to take my sin, put it on Christ and punish Him in my place. Who do I think I am, scratching at glory as if it were ever intended for me?
What do we do next? How do we live in such a way that we aim to give God glory and not hijack it for ourselves? Louie Giglio puts it this way,
“But to mean it when I say that I want my life to count for His glory is to drive a stake through the heart of self – a painful and determined dying to me that must be a part of every day I live.”
Every day. Not just an epiphany or a moment of clarity. Everyday. We die to ourselves everyday. I’m not sure what that looks like for you, but I know what it looks like for me and although it is very painful, my heart yearns to give God His glory forever.