People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. … If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives, Be kind anyway. … If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies, Succeed anyway. … If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you, Be honest and sincere anyway. … What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight, Create anyway. … If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous, Be happy anyway. … The good you do today, will often be forgotten, Do good anyway. … Give the best you have, and it will never be enough, Give your best anyway. … In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
~Mother Teresa’s adaptation of Kent M. Keith’s Paradoxical Commandments
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ Who is your Life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. … Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.
~from Colossians 3
Oh beloved, it is true.
Thomas Aquinas said that the four typical substitutes for God are wealth, pleasure, power, and honor. And our current milieu is fully tuned for all four of these. But the great mystery, is that even though we know these things will not really get us what we want – we are more than willing most days to pursue them to the brink of our money, health, strength, and reputation.
Our current social environment has taken the four substitutes and marketed them (now online) with cunning skill. Remember, though, the prince of this fallen world is a liar. So much so, that The Truth (and The Way, and The Life) tells us: “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
So, while all of this stuff looks really bright and shiny, the seemingly good is so insidiously poisonous that we are dying – and hardly notice. Even worse, what was supposed to become an online global village for dialog, has completely lost its bearing. The social networks of the internet have become a cage fight.
- Short-form video challenges that are killing people.
- Tweets, posts, blogs and wikis where people ‘blast’, ‘destroy’, ‘crush’, ‘nuke’, or ‘expose’ the weakness of their opponents.
- Photoshopped and cropped pictures that make real people look so drab, and unattractive.
- Gambling, Pornography – along with drugs and alcohol delivered in minutes – add to the dreary and deadly scene
But the deadliest of the deadly poison of this whole mess?
I am an IT engineer, and some years ago, I lamented to a friend that I repented of my work that helped build out this monstrosity. I even left the industry for over seven years. I am back in IT now, but specifically work on things that are not involved with the internet.
Oh yes! The internet has many powerfully positive things about it. But the truth is, the compulsion that has grown throughout the world is that nearly everyone is vying for an audience they can ‘influence.’ Tens of millions of the billions on the internet have become so inured to the little red hearts and thumbs up icons, that they actually believe their worth is defined by how many likes they can maintain across their apps. Hundreds of thousands are fully willing to die in a ‘challenge’ if they will go out as a famous influencer.
Now, this fool of a writer grew up as a sincere Christian. But, it was only when I actually started to let The Bible speak to me that I was truly converted in my heart. Oh, I knew about the faith. But I was missing something: God’s Word constitutes reality. His Word makes it so.
At first, this may seem unrelated. IT. IS. NOT.
Can we see it?
Jesus spoke existence itself, and all of creation into being. Jesus called his friend Lazarus back from the dead. Jesus blessed and broke a bit of bread and fish – and fed thousands. Jesus rebuked demonic powers and they fled, or went silent, at His command! Jesus spoke with complete Authority regarding all of Scripture. And this only begins to describe His power over death itself, and His indelible mark on history.
Talk about being an Influencer!!!
Why wouldn’t we want to put Him at the center of our lives? It seems crazy that we keep droning on with the stuff that doesn’t work…
Upon fully surrendering my life to Jesus about 12 years ago, I have thought often about this. I think it is actually fear on our part. Because, yes, what if everything that Jesus says is really true? We have to think about this. Because if we allow Jesus to become the ultimate Influencer in our lives – vs. the fleeting praise of the world – this accords to a holy and wholly different life.
We begin to see that we must participate with the vital, and saving Grace of our Maker – and that might very well make us uncomfortable. It might cause us to lose likes! And it does demand every moment of my life to turned over to The One working in me – and now through me!!!
While it seems so much easier, to wrap up the astounding mystery of our Faith, into a portable and systematic theology, this is just as silly as thinking that the wealth, power, pleasure, and honor of the world is going to fulfill me in any way whatsoever. And it really makes the “chasing after likes” game look pretty foolish.
What if we begin to grasp what has happened to us? What if, we could somehow truly grasp the Real Presence of our dear, Beloved Jesus? What if we started living our lives with a simple, but consecrated approach? What if we live our lives for an audience of One Who is already the Ultimate Influencer?
What if we just gave HIM all of our likes?
Tonight is your night. To influence the world for a few seconds, on a few hundred screens around the world is not going to do it for us. Start living for the One Who is already the most famous Being in the Universe. Each gain in this relationship will never fade away. Ever.
Written by Makala Doulos:Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Think About This: “I will never forget the day I realized that both God and the devil wanted me to die but for different reasons. Satan wanted to destroy me through slander while God wanted to use these same lies to crucify my vulnerability to man’s control. The Lord knew a time would come when my books would bless many people. So, to inoculate me against the praise of man, He baptized me in the criticisms of man until I died to the opinions of man. Yes, I am accountable, but I now live only for God’s pleasure. Whether I please or offend man, that is the Lord’s business, not mine.” – Francis Frangipane