"If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?" How many of you heard that one growing up? Back in the day, it was every parent's response when their child said, "But everyone else is doing it." I remember my Mom saying it, followed by, "I don't care what everyone else is doing; you are going to be different." I have to admit, over the past few months, I've wondered if many of us don't need to hear those words again. You see, one of the biggest things that concerns me about modern Christians and the contemporary church is our tendency to jump on every bandwagon that comes along. We want to be relevant. We're worried about how things look—the optics. Social media makes us feel like we have to voice our opinion on every situation. Our opinions are too often influenced by our desire to "look good," be socially acceptable, and politically correct. Often the result is that we mimic what we think the world wants to hear, rather than speaking truth. This deeply concerns me because, as followers of Christ, we are not called to simply imitate the world. Instead, as Christians, we are called to follow Christ. Our views should not be shaped by what social media, our favorite news channel, or even our favorite politician says. Instead, we should be following the leading of the Holy Spirit and the principles of the Bible. I can guarantee that this path will lead you against the popular culture. For many, this presents a problem. They want to be part of the crowd. They feel safest on the broad road of "everyone else is doing it." But, as Matthew 7:13-14 days, this road leads to destruction while the narrow path leads to life.
"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way."
Matthew 7:13 NLT
This verse is very clear: if we want to be part of God's kingdom and help others enter God's kingdom, then we cannot keep mimicking the world or doing what we think the world wants us to do. We need to stop being followers, and instead become leaders.
How do we do this?
First, we need to spend time with God and in His Word. When an issue arises, our first thought shouldn't be to quickly add our voice to the roar, but instead, we should listen to God's heart and perspective. Often this requires time. You'll need to quiet your emotions and turn off the voices around you so that you can hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. Remember, God told Elijah that He wasn't in the chaos of the wind or the fire or the earthquake—He was in the stillness. (1 Kings 19:9-18) Sometimes we need to remember that God isn't in the noise of the news, of social media, or panic. We need to find a quiet place so that we can hear God lead us.
After we have sought God's perspective, we need to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this will mean not responding to a situation. Other times it means not jumping on whatever bandwagon the culture is following next. Frequently, it will involve maintaining a consistent lifestyle of godliness and letting your actions speak louder (or at least as loud as) your words.
One of the most important things I believe Christians need in tumultuous times likes these are a commitment to steadfast faith.
Steadfast means unwavering.
Quite frankly, it concerns me how many Christians seem to be just the opposite, as they are tossed around by every new thing that comes along.This is not who we are to be. We aren't called to be fluid; we are called to stand firm.
Psalm 1 describes it this way:
"Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do."
Psalms 1:1-3 NLT
Do you want to be like a strong, healthy, reliable tree? Then there are two things you have to do: First, don't follow wicked people or their advice. Secondly, spend time in God's Word and follow it. It seems so easy, yet it's so hard for many to do when the voices of the wicked are so loud and so predominant in our culture. The simple thing to do is join the crowd, be a follower, and mimic pop culture. However, the wiser path is to stand alone, seek God's perspective, and steadfastly walk in obedience to God's truth. It really is like your mama said, "It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing." It doesn't even matter how you feel or how you think you should feel. All that matters is God's Word and following the Holy Spirit. Don't worry about optics and virtue signaling, instead, commit to passionately and wholeheartedly following Jesus and being the steadfast tree He has called you to be in a dark world.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.