June 24, 2017

Christian Celebrities

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 24, 2017

There are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, ”I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?  1 Corinthians 1:11-13

Christian celebrities sometimes create quarreling factions, but followers of Christ are not on theological teams competing to win. There is no competition in the Kingdom of God, yet human nature yearns for a hero. People want someone they can see who stands for excellence in eternal matters. This admiration for those who are extremely gifted in teaching, speaking, writing, and leadership is not bad in and of itself.

Factions occur when people proudly perceive their leader to be superior to all other servants of the Lord. They get caught up in the man or woman, and look down on others who are not as “successful.” It is immaturity that promotes a person instead of the Lord. When Jesus is lifted up and the focus of everyone’s attention, all are united around Him!

“And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw all people to Myself [Gentiles, as well as Jews]” (John 12:32, AMP).

There is an ugly co-dependence that is created by celebrity worship. The line between leader and Lord becomes blurred when followers begin to deify a gifted man or woman. It becomes cult worship when Christian celebrities are not challenged or questioned. This is a warning for megachurches: Make sure the man does not become the center of attention over Christ.

The pastor is called to equip the saints and exalt the Savior, while awe is reserved for Almighty God. You help your pastor by keeping him off a pedestal. Pedestals produce pride and give a pastor a downward-looking perspective. Honor him, yes; worship him, no. Leaders who compete with Christ are in danger of losing God’s blessing. The accolades of man are cheap substitutes for God’s eternal rewards.

However, there is an effective approach to diffusing this determination to create Christian celebrities. Gifted pastor/leaders can reject “rock star” status by addressing in their teachings, the dangers of admiring a man more while loving the Lord less. Parishioners who worship and fear God are to first walk away from Sunday sermons in awe of God, not enamored of or entertained by man. If the purpose of worship becomes engagement with a person’s personality to the exclusion of eternal accountability, a destructive and dysfunctional environment is brewing.

Teaching and leadership are meant to be catalysts for Christ-centric living. A wise leader makes sure that worship services become launching pads for truth, as he points people to Jesus. Therefore, do not crave the role of Christian celebrity. It doesn’t show maturity. Maturity means you decrease and He increases (John 3:30). Deflect any attention that is reserved for the Almighty. Authentic leaders, teachers, and pastors pour themselves out for Christ’s sake. They use subtle acts of service—such as feeding the poor—to keep themselves humble.

Your Master is the main attraction, so celebrate Christ through worship, prayer, Bible study, and service. He is your Christian celebrity.  

“So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me” (John 8:28).

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I lift up Jesus alone in praise, worship, and adoration. Keep my affections and admiration fixed on Him and on no man, in His name I pray.

Application

Am I following and trusting a celebrity instead of placing my faith in Christ?

Related Reading

Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 3:20-23, 4:6; Romans 8:31-34 Today’s reading is taken from Boyd’s most popular book: Seeking Daily the Heart of God, a 365 day devotional.

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When Jesus is lifted up and the focus of everyone’s attention, all are united around Him!  #celebrityworship #wisdomhunters

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