Apparently, I need to ramp up my Twitter account.
I’ve only got about 200 or so people following me, so I’m not very big on that social media outlet.
But that’s okay, because I’m not defining myself on how many people are following me. Nor am I defining myself by whom I follow on Twitter.
Whom are you following?
I don’t mean on Twitter. I mean, like, in life. You may like a page, but whom are you FOLLOWING?
With the advent of social media, the word “following” has taken on a much looser meaning. I may “follow” Matthew McConaughey on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean I’m literally “following” him in the stricter sense that I accept what he says as ultimate authority or truth (nothing wrong with McConaughey…just using him as an example). I may watch for his updates on the newsfeed, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to pattern my life after Him.
However, some do. The moral and societal compasses of these sheep are shaped sort of pell-mell by listening to clusters of poets, pundits, and personalities, perhaps unconnected to one another, that may be cool or seem to make the most sense. Our total range of moral belief may be simultaneously shaped into a crazy quilt of truth by L. Ron Hubbard, Lil Wayne, Matt Lauer, Oprah, and George Clooney. This is not to say that these people can’t offer words of wisdom, but the ongoing trend is to hang our philosophy of life on the sage advice of celebrities, while some biblical philosophies are perceived as old-fashioned and hokey.
Newer, sexier philosophies are applauded and the old, archaic ones are met with jeers. We tend to gravitate to those who seem “up with the times” or “2014” or “cutting edge” while the theologies of old savants rot away. We look for newer, fresher ideas, while thousand-year-old-wisdom has become ignorance and naiveté.
The truth is we don’t really know who to follow, because today, there are billions of people with varying opinions as to the truth, some employing more salesmanship than others. We have a hard time getting to absolute truth because everyone’s opinion or lifestyle must be accepted and tolerated. No matter how ridiculous or wrong, we must accept it as “their truth”—else we are bigots, hate-mongers, and other things evil. Simply believing what the Bible says is met with disdain and vehemence, so when the gauntlet is dropped, the Christian is caught in a nasty conundrum: stick to my guns OR be labeled.
Our lives are inundated daily with a barrage of information, propaganda, puffery and promotion. Memes come at us like snapping crows, landing on our intellectual real estate. Many, carefully dressed in flowers and pastels and cutesy slogans, purport the truth, while a quick glance behind the façade may reveal only glimmers of truth or a lie from the pits of hell. We have allowed memes to carry more weight than biblical truth.
I recently saw this one: THE PURPOSE OF OUR LIVES IS TO BE HAPPY.
So the purpose of our life is not to serve other people or to serve God, but to ensure that we feel good at the end of the day? Our ultimate end has become self-gratification, and others are left in the wake of it.
People like Jon Acuff and Joel Osteen and even Ravi Zacharias have large followings, but so did the Manson boys: Marilyn and Charles. So just because you have a lot of followers doesn’t mean what you say is any more or less right. Two million likes on Facebook does not make you more authoritative or a master on a subject.
History has proven that people can be lead astray. People every bit as smart and well-intending and successful as you or I have gotten caught in the vortex of slick-tongued men, prideful snakes who have convinced themselves that they are authority figures on the truth (Hitler had convinced himself of such). We should be very careful who we’re listening to.
But I’m not certain that we really want to search for the truth; we would rather lazily accept what others have to say, without much thought in our own right. We tend to think it’s right if it lines up with our political affiliation or lifestyle. As a result, any old idea can take root if enough people say it enough times over and over, and it has been amazing what I have been convinced of in my own life.
We say things like, “Only God can judge me” when what we really ought to be asking is “What is God going to say when He does judge me?”
I really want to follow Jesus. But often, I listen to the clutter. I buy into untruths. Societal lies. I make compromises which lead to madcap decisions. And every time, it doesn’t turn out well. I am left with nothing to show for it. I am empty. I have nothing.
There is no doubt that satan is running rampant in the media, having a field day. He wants us distracted. He wants to divert our attention from the real truth. He wants information overload, so that finding the truth is akin to finding a needle in the middle of a haystack. He wants Christians to believe that it’s ok to accept ideas that are in direct contradiction to the Bible. He wants us to feel liberated and proud that we are able to construct our own moral pillars, instead of relying totally on God as a matter of principle. He wants to erect walls, hurdles that we have to leap over before we settle into the truth. He wants to make it hard for us to simply believe that what Jesus says is the truth.
But finding our mapquest should be easy. Look to the Bible, and you’ll find all you need to navigate you through life. It’s an old-fashioned way, I know. But it has never proven untrue in my thirty-plus years of dealing with it.
Whom are you following?
I don’t mean whom are you looking for in a newsfeed.
I mean whose words are you staking your life on? Whose words are you accepting as authority?
If we believe that the Bible is the absolute truth, we cannot therefore accept ANY notion that contradicts it. The Bible cannot be a buffet line, where we pick and choose what we want to believe and what we disagree with.
We are to “follow in the dust of the Rabbi Jesus,” which means that we follow him so closely that he literally kicks up dust in our face. We are not simply to look for Jesus’s words in our newsfeeds. We are to synchronize our life with his life. It means that what he says takes on an authority role in our life, not to be outdone or changed by any other creed or mantra.
While we all fall short of this mark, when we all deviate from that road (and we all will), may we again (and soon) discover the truth of following Him. And however the world attempts to define you, Christ defines you as his.
And that is something to tweet about. 78