Who Needs Celebrity?
The Battle for Hearts and Minds - Part 4
'We use God's mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil's strongholds.' 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
An invading army cannot co-exist with a stronghold. It's the same in life. Either we take down the strongholds that threaten us, or the strongholds will take us down.
One of the great strongholds we face today is celebrity. This especially affects the so-called Generation X and the Millennial Generation.
For as long as human beings have appreciated talent and ability, we've had celebrities. In the past, celebrities were people we celebrated because of some great achievement or some admirable quality. Today, a celebrity is often little more than someone who is well known for being well known. Many people are famous just because they are famous, because someone has found the right image for them.
But we should think again about where our culture of celebrity is leading us. Celebrity is built on novelty. When celebs see their star losing its shine, they often turn to shock value to rescue them from obscurity. When something loses its shock value, something more shocking has to take its place - shocks must get more shocking over time.
Celebrity also distorts reality; it makes small things seem big and vice versa.
Hollywood, California is a small place - only about 210,000 people live there - yet it influences attitudes around the world, through the power of celebrity. Satan has used this ploy to deceive people from the beginning. With Eve, he made the tree seem bigger and God's command seem smaller. Deception takes root whenever we lose our sense of proportion.
Celebrity is about image, and image can be a dangerous thing. Julian Lennon, son of John, reportedly said: 'The only thing I ever learned from my dad was how not to be a father.' Image can ruin families. It also warps our sense of who we are. Marily Monroe once said, 'I seem to be a whole superstructure without a foundation.'
In the end, image is just a poor substitute for what human beings really want -- influence! The most impacting man in history, Jesus, wasn't even interested in fame. Yet no matter how hard you try, you just can't ignore him or escape his influence.
What does the Bible say about celebrity? Of course, it doesn't use the word itself. But it does give some pointers as to how we should respond.
The Bible says that only God deserves to be worshipped. In the Old Testament, God forbade his people from building idols of stone or mental. Why? Because he knew that when you build idols you freeze your revelation of God. You say, in effect, 'This is all that God can be for me.' You limit God and what he can do in your life -- and you reduce yourself and your potential, for you were made in his image.
The Bible also teaches that your work should never take over your whole life.
Romans 12:3 tells us: 'Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.' (NLT) All many people know about celebrities is what they see of them when they are functioning in the area of their greatest gift. We all have special gifts, activities in which we excel. Imagine other people only ever saw you when you were doing that one special thing. They would only see you at your very best.
That may sound attractive, but before long you would begin to feel very guilty about the other areas of your life which are not such strengths. In the areas where we are weak we need the support and understanding of others. In the end, if people only see the best side of us they place upon us expectations that we can't possibly fulfill. When that happens, relationships become very difficult to sustain, and so does a well-balanced self-image.
The Bible also teaches that the road to influence often passes through a town called Obscurity.
John 12: 24 says, 'Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies it remains alone; but if it dies it brings forth much fruit.' (NIV) God has put a seed in you. The seed contains the DNA programming for your future. It contains all the godly plans and God-given abilities that will lead you to your true destiny. The seed is not just what is, but what will be. The seed is the future.
There will come a time in your life when God will seem to bury that seed, hiding it from view. It will look like the end of the road for you. You will say, as will others, 'Where are those gifts that blessed so many? Where is that ministry that showed such promise?'
At this, the most vulnerable and lonely point in your life, your whole future will depend on how you respond. Will you shake your fist at God and determine never again to give him your whole heart? Will you try to find the fulfilment of his promises in lesser things? Or, will you realise, as all great heroes of faith have done, that this is simply a part of God's preparation?
It is painful when your present blessing is removed; it is even more painful when God seems to bury what you thought was your future. Sometimes, though, God subtracts from your present in order to multiply your future.
Many Christians have only 'near death' experiences.
They won't allow God to complete the work of preparation in their lives. They struggle to be great, when God is first on the side of the small. They admire the mighty, when God first smiles on the weak. They long to be self-sufficient, when God reaches first for needy.
Let God finish his work of preparation, of training, of stretching, so that you're ready for everything he has lined up for you! Don't hide behind image, or crave celebrity, when God is building you for long-term, generation-changing influence.
© Mal Fletcher 2004