A good reminder from Serge (formerly World Harvest Mission) about two different ways of living.
Freedom from Personal Spin Campaigns
A Life of Spin
There is a sizable institute called the Media Literacy Project dedicated to a single, increasingly-important purpose: helping people discern fact from fiction in news sources. Such a group does much needed work today, giving us fact-checking tools as we compare stories from FOX news, CNN, Twitter, and Buzzfeed among others.
It’s not just the news, but also the endless advertising. The latest products make big promises. How many times can the new smart phone really change everything? Drugs and treatments are advertised while minimizing serious consideration for side effects. Many today are tired of the slickly turned out spin. Is the church a refreshing alternative or just another place of pretense? In his short book Repentance, Serge founder Jack Miller wrote, “If we wish to be effective as Christian leaders, we must see that our own pharisaic pretense will eventually be discovered by the people we meet and rebuked by our own consciences.” Christ did not come, die, and rise to offer fresh spin on your life. He came for renewal.
The Authentic Way Out: Repentance
We are foolish if we think that modern men and women do not see when we are putting on a show. Think about it, how do you carry out your own personal brand campaign: In your church? In your family? In your workplace? In your prayer life? The Holy Spirit himself is deeply grieved, weeps holy tears over our religious fakery and instructs us in a better way – by the path of renewal through sincere repentance:
“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:6,7
God is merciful in letting our self-promotion campaigns fail – He wants real relationship for us. In his letter, James is most direct with those who use God when it makes them look good:
“Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.… Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:8,10
Where Do We Begin with Repentance?
In Repentance, Jack Miller urges us: “We must stop parading around as a shell of person, living as those that T.S. Eliot called “hollow men.” Ask the Holy Spirit to make you willing to be searched by God (Psalm 139:23-24). And in turn, you will realize you are truly known by him. Do not expect the process of searching to be always painless and pleasant. No, hardly. But you will begin to have the joy of a clear conscience and a deepening fellowship with Christ as you realize He is unafraid of what He exposes, willing to heal, awaiting your return to Him. As you learn to thirst after Christ and drink of Him, you will find the living waters of the Holy Spirit flowing through you (John 7:37-39). No longer will you be the shiny appearance of something good, but you will be really living—and from you waters will overflow into others’ lives.”