Filters have overtaken the world, so much so that we announce when there isn't one.
The once known pound symbol, is now widely known as a hashtag. Social media is now a place to show our lives, and a platform for advertisements. This place that was created a century ago to keep people connected, has in turn pulled people apart. A screen, typed words, and a carefully placed emoji to declare how we want something to be perceived verses the underlying truth of the comment or action. We want to look like one thing, yet we aren't willing to sacrifice or pay the cost to get there, so we fake it, and we don't make it.
A couple months ago I realized that I needed to switch up my priorities. I wasn't in prayer, or spending enough quality time with the Lord, and I found myself desperate to cut things out to make time. I prayed and I felt Holy Spirit suggest that I disconnect myself from all social media platforms; I thought "no big deal, that's easy". I went to my phone and deleted every social media app -- Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snap-chat. Deleted.
I didn't realize all the time I was truly wasting and what a distraction it all was until it was gone. I had been distant in conversations with my husband, and my mind was preoccupied with the habit of checking all these platforms without even thinking about it. When I got rid of the distractions on my phone, I still had a habit to break and a choice to make. During this transition, I would catch myself hopping on my phone in the lulls of the day like I had so often done before, but this time there wasn't anything to look at.
I went through the process of deleting my Facebook profile permanently a couple times, but I always seemed to find a way to justify canceling the deactivation process. I made excuses that social media was the only way to connect with people. What if I didn't get an invite, missed a pregnancy announcement, or all those Facebook Marketplace deals? In other words, FOMO (fear of missing out). The worst one yet, was that without a social media platform, I wouldn't be able to share Jesus with all of those people. Ridiculous.
During this transitional time, I kept feeling urged to post again, wanting to share unnecessary pieces of my life for what seemed like no reason at all. As I pondered, I heard something ugly inside me saying "show them what you are now". As this echoed through my ears, I realized that there was something inside of me that I didn't see before. It wasn't an active attempt, it wasn't my soul purpose, but there was still something there. I was longing to be seen, and I didn't even realize it.
With the statement "show them what you are now" the enemy was prompting me to open up a door and agree that I needed to prove to the world that I had changed. With this compliance, it would become all about me, and not the one who saved me. This alliance, would dis-value the one who brought forth the perfect sacrifice that made everything possible. This made me sick, and was a call to action. As I confronted this, I was receiving an overflow of revelation of the stumbling block that could form in situations like this. This distraction was multifaceted, but once I was aware of it, it became a learning opportunity.
DO NOT BE DECEIVED: GOD CANNOT BE MOCKED. A MAN REAPS WHAT HE SOWS. WHOEVER SOWS TO PLEASE THEIR FLESH, FROM THE FLESH WILL REAP DESTRUCTION; WHOEVER SOWS TO PLEASE THE SPIRIT, FROM THE SPIRIT WILL REAP ETERNAL LIFE.
GALATIANS 6: 7-8
I started noticing things around me that I hadn't noticed before. I kept hearing of, and seeing people posing as one form and being unveiled as another. People putting on self-titles, declaring one structure, and then finding out what goes on behind closed doors doesn't match up. These situations needed exposure, not only for them but for those around them. This hindrance would affect their families, the people around them that they were leading. This broke my heart, and here we are, shining light on the situation.
SO YOU MUST DO EVERYTHING THEY TELL YOU. BUT DO NOT DO WHAT THEY DO FOR THEY DO NOT PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH. THEY TIE UP HEAVY CUMBERSOME LOADS AND PUT THEM ON OTHER PEOPLE’S SHOULDER, BUT THEY THEMSELVES ARE NOT WILLING TO LIFT A FINGER TO MOVE THEM. EVERYTHING THEY DO IS DONE FOR PEOPLE TO SEE...
Imagine that I decide one day that I want to be addressed as doctor and start introducing myself as such. If I do so but didn't complete advanced work in graduate school or professional school to deserve and earn that title, I would be considered a fool. I would be portraying to others the idea that I have been disciplined in the subject and carried the weight of the responsibility to be awarded the name doctor.
To become a medical doctor of sorts you must complete an undergraduate education, then take a super crazy admission test called the MCAT. Following that testing, one would then need to apply to medical school. Afterward, upon acceptance medical school training must be completed. Awhile later, there are more tests and specialty specifications. In pursuit of this accreditation and with the completion of medical school comes residency which is on the job training with experienced leaders of the profession. Followed by more tests, certifications and licensing.
Now, the last thing I want you to assume is that I know or am claiming to know everything about becoming a doctor. Ask my husband; though I have watched plenty of Grey's Anatomy, I essentially know nothing besides the "10 steps you need to take to become a medical doctor" per the good 'ole trusty google search. This search was made with the sole purpose to paint a word picture and give you a practical example, so stick with me, I do have a point.
Being a medical doctor takes time, patience, submission, sacrifice, and so much more. In my opinion, most things that are of great value also need these practicing qualities. It's easy to look at "celebrity christian figures" and want what they have; to want to be seen, heard, sell lots of books, fill stadiums, make lots of money, or have a platform to change the world. It's not bad to have these things, but if you want to be seen, if you burn and long to be in one of these positions, you are probably making yourself a god and aren't in the business of making the true Messiah the Mighty One in the equation, but rather taking that role for yourself.
FROM THAT TIME ON JESUS BEGAN TO EXPLAIN TO HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE MUST GO TO JERUSALEM AND SUFFER MANY THINGS AT THE HANDS OF THE ELDERS, THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND THE TEACHERS OF THE LAW, AND THAT HE MUST BE KILLED ON THE THIRD DAY TO BE RAISED TO LIFE. PETER TOOK HIM ASIDE AND BEGAN TO REBUKE HIM, ‘NEVER, LORD!’ HE SAID. ‘THIS SHALL NEVER HAPPEN TO YOU!’
JESUS TURNED AND SAID TO PETER, ‘GET BEHIND ME, SATAN! YOU ARE A STUMBLING BLOCK TO ME; YOU DO NOT HAVE IN MIND THE CONCERNS OF GOD, BUT MERELY HUMAN CONCERNS.’
THEN JESUS SAID TO THE DISCIPLES, ‘WHOEVER WANTS TO BE MY DISCIPLE MUST DENY THEMSELVES AND TAKE UP THEIR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME. FOR WHOEVER WANTS TO SAVE THEIR LIFE WILL LOSE IT, BUT WHOEVER LOSES THEIR LIFE FOR ME WILL FIND IT. WHAT GOOD WILL IT BE FOR SOMEONE TO GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, YET FORFEIT THEIR SOUL? OR WHAT CAN ANYONE GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR THEIR SOUL? FOR THE SON OF MAN IS GOING TO COME IN HIS FATHERS GLORY WITH HIS ANGELS, AND THEN HE WILL REWARD EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAVE DONE.’
MATTHEW 16: 23-27
Anyone worth following, paid the price to be in the position that they are in. When the choice to serve themselves comes and looks them in the eye, they don't let it distract them, but instead deny themselves and press forward. The Lord loves to show us off; He loves his handiwork, and I am not saying it's wrong to have an honorable platform, but being in the spotlight shouldn't be the goal. As Christians, we shouldn't be in the business of making ourselves famous and known, but instead, making our Father famous and known, by representing Him well.
In Matthew 16, Peter rebukes Jesus because there was something inside of him that was selfish, which displayed his heart for the world. Jesus then turns around and doesn't say 'get behind me Peter' but rather 'get behind me Satan' speaking to the demonic pursuit of the world that was trying to make a home within Peter, correcting this thought through relationship. However, Peter still had a choice and it was evident in Matthew 26:69-74 where Peter disowns Jesus what he chose.
When we receive correction and get defensive, we often get offended and prideful. Out of our offense we tend to shut people out instead of embracing them, yet this is when we need people most. We need to be able to take the criticism being given to us and become pliable, teachable and submissive to our elders. We must have Kingdom family relationships to keep us in check. Without accountability, we get flaky, self-absorbed, and in turn often very hypocritical. If you don't have people keeping you accountable in relationship, that you are doing family with, I plead with you to go out of your way to make sure you do. If you have been pushing people out and are holding onto unforgiveness, I beg you to forgive.
If you see others struggling in this area, don't be one who grabs their torches and pitchforks and tears these people apart. One of the responsibilities of being a Christian is loving people who aren't easy to love; that's what Jesus did right? Honor them, without compromising truth. Through relationship, and family these things can be addressed. Through submission, and humility, these pitfalls can be dealt with. Instead, I urge you be aware and guard your heart. When you see people struggling, either with wanting to be seen or otherwise, instead of immediately going to gossip or slander, ask the Lord to search your heart for the thing you see in the other person that's not sitting with you right, and pray for them with purity. Don't pray out of an ill will for your own personal justice. Be vulnerable and don't justify your actions to protect your comfort.
Where is your heart? Are you in this thing called Christianity for yourself or do you really want a true relationship? Are you striving to find yourself and a worldly purpose to slap the Lords name on for personal gain? Are you justifying this feeling inside of you and labeling it as something else as a loophole? Are you trying to be seen, or are you trying to make sure your maker is seen? Are you here to make you famous, or your Father famous? Even if it’s the tiniest little thing inside of you that wants to be seen, you can still trip on a pebble.
Hopefully this shines a light on a possible, pebble, rock, or boulder in your life, so you don't stumble, trip or fall. What price are you willing to pay, and what’s the root of why it stops there? Why are you doing what you are doing? Will you allow the Lord to show you who you are, and let Him give you validation instead of looking to man to do it for you? Will you partner with the Lord and hide yourself within Him? Will you humble yourself and be obedient even if no one saw you?
I pray that your eyes would be opened to any distractions in your life, and the Lord would pull up the root. I pray that you would find yourself hidden in the heart of the Lord and long to put Him on display. I pray that you would surround yourself with true Kingdom family, to keep you accountable.