Who is the most godly Christian you know? Do you know anyone whom the New Testament would commend as an example for twenty-first century Christians? Is it one of those we consider to be the Christian superstars? Nope, not for me either. Although we are told to imitate Christ, it seems that some modern Evangelicals have exchanged the biblical expectations and guidelines for their own – even as they judge the secular world for having done the same. Consider Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the Suffering Servant, our Teacher and Model for this life and the next. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and also the meekest example of humility and holiness. Can you honestly imagine Him walking the talk of many modern ministry-heavyweight-wannabe’s?
Like many of you, I reluctantly entered into the world of virtual social networking, primarily swayed by the argument that it would be a good way to stay in touch with friends and family. However, reading the Facebook updates and Twitter tweets that inundate the web through the day makes me suspect that their primary purpose is self promotion. Increasing numbers of Christians seem to be in a race to plaster their names across the Internet along with any clever thoughts that pop into their heads during the day. Does anyone really believe that these men just spontaneously decide to tweet or update that their wife is the greatest thing since night baseball, makes the best tacos, is a Supermom, or is a Proverbs 31 woman? Especially when they sound so remarkably similar to other tweets that just appeared from their colleagues? Perhaps I am just suspicious by nature, but I wonder whom they are really trying to convince or impress? I mean, honestly.
If we really concentrate, we might possibly be able to imagine a world where it would be okay to let our closest friends and family members know what we are eating tonight, what we are listening to, or relate something funny that we just saw. But many of the nervous Twitterers and frequent Facebookers have thousands of people in their networks. Could there be a crowd of several thousand people that really needs to know whether or not you are going to make this flight and how you feel about that, or what you and your wife will do on your date-night this week? Don’t get me wrong, I think we need to celebrate the achievements of our brothers and sisters, even beyond our close friends and family, and give honor and congratulations to the deserving. But where is the Christian virtue of humility?
Someone has said that humility is not thinking less of yourself, just thinking of yourself less. Enter Twitter and Facebook. Humility used to guide believers to wait and let others praise them and not do it themselves. The heroes of yesteryear who reluctantly received the crowd’s adulation have been replaced with shameless personal promoters who peddle their self-made brand to as many as possible by all means possible—under the guise of social networking. I will admit that these folks seem to be larger than life superstars with all the news that’s fit to tweet, if it’s all true, but seriously, all this genuflecting is making my pants baggy.
It seems that many of them have begun to believe their press clippings and book blurbs. It seems that many followers and “friends” have been sucked in, too. Recently, a ministry super leader tweeted about a speech he had made and folks began to chime in to congratulate him on his wisdom, citing sound bites from “his” speech that were well-known quotations from past Christian leaders. Sadly, there was no correction of the mistaken attribution. The only sounds were the echoing accolades, “one greater than Moses is among us.”
Even sadder is the growing number of young men and women who are wannabe’s. They actually seek counsel regarding how they can create and promote their personal brand. One young student recently asked me how often and what topics of his life he should tweet. Really?
Remember Jesus? I have tried to imagine Jesus tweeting and sending Facebook updates like many that I see.
“Just healed a blind man.”
“Lunching today with chief tax man in Jericho @Zacchaeus.”
“Walked on water this evening, disciples amazed I could calm a storm. lol.”
“Fed 5,000 men and their families with a boy’s lunch today.”
“Washed the disciples feet. Being intentional to exercise and model humility.”
“Check my reviews from the crowds last Friday. #Jerusalem”
Yet again, I see the vast gap between what I know about me and what I know about Jesus. I too have occasionally fallen into the pattern of tweeting every thought that flitted through my head and shared good news that was really more of a way to brag about how great or show how clever I am. I hope that the painfully slow progressive sanctification of my life has reached a level where I can put that to death and edify others, glorify Christ, and seek first His kingdom and righteousness.