This article was originally posted at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
In pastoral ministry, writing, social media, and blogdom, there is a temptation to pursue being popular; to pursue being a celebrity. Yet, in order to follow Christ, we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). This includes denying our desire to be popular, our desire to be celebrities. Perhaps Christ is leading us away from popularity to “obscurity”? It shouldn’t matter as long as we’re following Him.
“This is eternal life to know, the living God and Christ the Son.” -Augustus Toplady (paraphrasing John 17:3)
Are you a celebrity Christian wannabe?
You might be a celebrity Christian wannabe If…
1. You’d rather minister to strangers on the Internet than those in the hospital, nursing home, shut-ins, or orphans (James 1:27).These people cannot do anything to increase your celebrity status.
2. You’re jealous when other godly voices are heard and heeded above your own.God’s glory in Christ is no longer your goal, for your voice must be heard. You’re not like John the Baptist who was overjoyed that Jesus was becoming more popular even though his own popularity was decreasing (John 3:25-30). Those unconcerned with their celebrity-status don’t care if their popularity decreases so long as Jesus’ popularity increases.
3. You frequently link to other Celebrity Christians in hope that they’ll notice you, and return the favor.You rarely link to the articles of anyone who isn’t a celebrity Christian. After all, what can a non-celebrity Christian do for you?
4. You’re no longer corrected or taught by your local pastor(s), Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, and other Christians. You’re the celebrity, they’re not; they should learn from you. Yet, if God’s word is true and authoritative, you can learn from any Christian who teaches it accurately (Heb. 4:12).
5. You’d never take a ministry position that limits or decreases your popularity. In celebrity culture, you’re “here today and gone tomorrow.” Celebrity-status comes and goes, and you’ve got to “strike while the iron is hot.” Taking a ministry position that limits or decreases your popularity may destroy your celebrity-status forever; and that can’t happen!
6. You cannot correct the wrong doctrines of your Celebrity Christian heroes or admit when they’re wrong. “By Scripture alone” is a mantra you don’t heed. After all, you cannot “bite the hand that feeds.” Correcting other celebrity Christians in your theological camp will hurt your celebrity status. They might no longer promote your ministry.
7. Before helping another pastor, writer, or Christian you ask, “What’s in it for me,” instead of “How can I love God and my neighbor” (Matt. 22:37-39)?For the sake of your own celebrity status, you must help those who can help you. You cannot waste your time helping those who cannot help you.
8. You’re not willing to be unknown. Knowing and loving God is not enough for your Christian life. You must be popular, and you’re willing to sin to reach your goal. You cannot say with Paul who uttered from prison, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty andhunger, abundance andneed. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:12-13). Paul did not need celebrity status or anything else because He had Christ. He understood that he had eternal life already, whether he had abundance or need, or celebrity-status or “obscurity.”
9. You care more about shares than spiritual discipline. You’re addicted to social media and your status there, which encourages you to have a poor prayer-life, poor devotional life, etc. You have become content with people thinking that you’re godly instead of basing your contentment on what God knows to be true about you.
10. You’re a Christian pastor, author, blogger, writer, teacher, etc. None of us are immune from pride, and pride is the source of celebrity-Christian-wannabe-ism.
In conclusion, the only answer for our tendency to become celebrity Christian wannabes is constant repentance and faith in Christ for salvation, sanctification, and growth in Him. We must decrease and he must increase. So long as Christ is exalted, we should be satisfied in Him (Phil. 4:11-13). We will falter; we fail and sin often, but praise be to God that we have an advocate before our Father, who defends us with His own merit and finished work (1 John 2:1-2)! Repent and rejoice in the good news forevermore, and reject celebrity-Christian-wannabe-ism by exalting the true Celebrity of all creation, God the Son Incarnate who is Jesus Christ the Righteous!