Imagine :: by Holly Spate

Like most people, my life can get busy. Sometimes it can get very busy. But once in a while during  the busyness I find myself stopping and contemplating about this world we all live in. Today I began imagining what our world and our country would be like if certain things had never been implemented. I pictured a simpler, more focused, more innocent place. Now imagine with me.

Imagine a place where Hollywood never existed, where social media had never been invented. A world where there were no arenas for professional sports figures and professional musicians. A place where reality TV and pop culture never came to fruition, and where celebrity beyond the confines of cities and small towns were not a reality.

I realize, due to our fallen state, that people will always, even in the smallest of communities, grasp for  a little piece of their own celebrity. There will always be the popular cheerleader in school or the football player that magically time and time again scores the winning touchdown for their community, but how refreshing it would be if it ended there.

How wonderful to live in our communities without the constant bombardment of celebrities saturating every area of our American culture. Yes, how refreshing that would be. But, sadly, that is not our reality or our world.

Daily we are exposed to a continual cloud of privilege and hypocrisy hanging overhead. A “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality. This is prevalent in our nation and has soaked our society. Our nation is thickly steeped in idolatry and it’s celebrated daily. At times the hypocrisy overwhelms to the point of wanting  to hit one’s head against the wall and ask…

Don’t these people see what they are doing? Don’t they understand they aren’t practicing what they preach? And, if they do, do they even care?” Do they realize the worship they are experiencing from their “fans” is idolatry and sinful? And do those who lavish all this attention upon these individuals realize this is one of the reasons our country is in the sad state that it’s in today?”

Every day people are allowing the joy they could experience in their own lives to be stolen from them because of their own interests in the likes of Hollywood, social media, professional sports, famous musicians, and pop culture.

For many, their most precious of gifts given by God are being ignored and replaced with less important activities that are nothing more than distractions from what truly matters—their own life stories and time spent with those in their own families and circles of influence. Time flies fast, every minute matters, and time lost can’t be replaced.

Each day is a gift and no one is promised tomorrow. So why are we allowing such things to drive us? Why have we allowed this to go on and on? Why the constant need to be distracted and entertained? Isn’t that the type of mentality that helped destroy past civilizations?

What’s driving the masses to idolize, listen to and support those who cry for gun control yet have body guards and make money from violent movies…with guns! And others who preach global warming while flying around in private jets. Or those who think they can separate themselves from their actions, saying, “I was just playing a part…that’s not me in real life…I don’t support that”—while the reality is that person made a conscious decision to be involved in that project.

So yes, by their own involvement they are supporting and promoting the very things they act like they are against. Whatever happened to being a person of integrity in ALL things? We can’t pick and choose our morality…right and wrong is not served up like a smorgasbord buffet. One is either walking the straight and narrow and trying to do what’s right, or is all over the place without conviction.

Actions always have consequences, and some are more far reaching than others. Whether Christian or  not, God has instilled within every individual a sense of right and wrong. Why follow those who lead hypocritical, extravagant, out of touch lifestyles?

Why would anyone find it wise to take advice, for instance, from people whose job is orchestrated by others telling them where to stand, what to say, when to walk into a scene, while dressing them, applying make-up to their faces, and airbrushing their pictures?

And yet, our culture celebrates them in awe as though they are saving lives and curing cancer. And some have been dubbed by “the powers that be” with distinguished sounding positions such as goodwill ambassadors. How is it that they have become so celebrated? It is mind boggling that while our country rapidly falls apart and our world implodes, the pedestal continues to rise for those who play pretend.

Sadly, celebrity has been allowed to creep in and infiltrate the Christian community as well. There are special ceremonies, such as the Dove Awards to pat the backs of artists for their accomplishments. Concerts given where it appears the performers themselves are more celebrated than the One they and those attending are claiming to praise and sing about. Autograph signings, trinkets for sale, interviews on the radio with “famous” sought after artists, have become the norm.

Even preachers have been put on pedestals while God is placed in the background. God, in many cases, has become a prop to further people’s own agendas of fame and success. Not with everyone, but with many. Why would we idolize other brothers and sisters in Christ when God clearly says there are to be NO other gods before us…no idolatry…no “fans”…only God and Him celebrated!

Although people will continually find ways to try and justify the celebrity that exists in Christian circles, there are simply no excuses . Everything we have in this life—our talents, friends, family, gifts are all from God and God alone! We really can’t take the credit or praise for anything we have or any successes we may achieve and we certainly shouldn’t misplace the credit for whom the credit should be given. It all should be done for God’s glory, never ours.

No wonder our world looks so dim. Why in the world would we want to emulate what the sinful world does? Why would we want to mirror the world and abandon the call to be set apart from it? What good is it to exalt the talents of the created and forget the Creator? Have so many forgotten Romans 12:2:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Have we conveniently failed to remember James 4:4?:

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

Each person in this nation and the world is precious to God. Every life matters to him. Those who call him Savior need to stand in prayer for those who are lost and extend Christ-like love while pointing them in the right direction. We need to pray for God to use each of us for His glory, while keeping an eternal perspective as our focus in the days and times ahead. We need to always remember that even though there are some in this life who appear to be at the top and have “gained the whole world” it all means nothing without the Savior.

Mark 8:36 makes it very clear, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

As Christians steeped in a world growing darker, we need to elevate God and worship Him only. We cannot afford, and those we minister to, cannot afford our complacency to cater to idolatry, worldly and secular things. In doing so, we are allowing hearts to fill with fluff while people are dying on the inside. God forgive us!

Until we’re called to our heavenly home, we’re commanded to set ourselves apart. We’re called to light up the world where we are so others can experience a little bit of heaven right here on earth. Let’s not tarry one more minute. Let’s not waste one more second. Let’s start today.