We live in a celebrity addicted culture in America. Social media presents a plethora of heroes that saturate all of our minds, whether they be rock stars, movie celebrities, writers, artists, pastors, CEOs, youtube phenomenons, or world leaders, we all naturally cling to heroes. We even live in a culture that immortalizes those that are no longer alive by being able to present their entire archives before our very eyes. We all need heroes. On a human level, I personally love John Lennon as a musical hero, Timothy Keller and Erwin McManus as pastoral, theological figurehead heroes, and also Tom Hanks as a movie celebrity hero (mostly because of his role as Forrest Gump the biggest fictional idiot genius of all time in my opinion).
But this obsession with heroes lends itself to danger when it comes to being a follower of Christ, especially for those who have a large platform of influence. Of course I don’t personally have that kind of platform, so I can’t begin to understand the temptations and issues that come with that. But I do know how our Master and Savior Jesus Christ answered the eternal enemy in these matters:
8 Again, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’” (Matt. 4:8-10)
The temptation from a platform that is given to point people to Jesus is to dilute the gospel with saccharine and use one’s public image as a way to gain Facebook followers, Twitter likes, website hits, sermon views, and attendees. It’s to live duplicitously and present a false public image that doesn’t fit with the person behind closed doors. This is a version of the devil’s temptation- to offer us as Christ followers “all the kingdoms of the world”. We would never go so far as to say that we would bow down and worship Satan to get more influence. But essentially, we are getting in bed with him for a little kiss when are motives are distorted and not entirely centered on pointing people to Christ in every possible way.
This is why I’m trying to adopt rejects as heroes. They are the street ministers, the missionaries, the martyrs, the unseen. They are those that may never have a spot in the limelight or a book deal, but what they do have is integrity before the King of Kings that seeps down into the very core of who they are. They will forsake all, they will give all, they will lay all down at the altar in order to give Jesus honor. They are advocates, they are leaders of leaders, they desire to raise others up above themselves to shine more than them. They live in ghettoes, suburbs, third world villages, and rural farmlands. They are willing to see the beauty of God’s creation in the eyes of prostitutes, sex slaves, drug addicts, forgotten ones, lost ones, greedy and despondent ones, those that think they have it all together, and those that are shattered to their very core… They won’t sell out the integrity of the gospel for popularity and celebrity for a moment, and join our Messiah and Redeemer in shouting at the enemy of souls; “Be gone Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.”