If we continue to live out our faith in carefully selected screen grabs, presented with post production filters that only show our ‘good side’, we may think that the charade is somehow advancing the gospel—but it’s not. We need to remove the distance. We need to show people the full frame. Living life up close with people is a sure-fire way of revealing your weakness, and with it, the true power of the gospel to save.
Content is king. Or so they say. Not that you would guess it after discovering the billions of dollars that are spent every year in packaging, marketing, and advertising in general. We are obsessed with hype, highlighting the wrapping, and creating a sense of anticipation. We are a generation who have perfected the art of over-selling and under-delivering. Big ticket consumable products are preceded by cinematic campaigns, while even our movie teasers have teasers and even these are fast being delivered as trilogies in their own right.
But there is a peculiar glory found in unexpected discoveries. A cool fresh stream flowing down a heavily forested gully is enjoyable, but the same stream found in the barren wastelands of some distant desert is a wonder. Treasure, found in a clay jar, is all the more brilliant for the fact of where it was hidden. Again, there is a peculiar glory found in unexpected discoveries.
While the Bible explicitly warns us of the folly, many a church have not been immune to following the well worn paths the world has blazed. Whitened smiles and power suits are fast being replaced with whatever the latest packaging trends are, but both communicate the same thing — “We’ve got a product you want, and if you come get it, you can be just like us.” Just as the world is growing weary of the pretence of marketing, so many disciples are growing weary with the charade of Instagram Christianity.
The Apostle Paul, a world away from ours, speaks into the veneer of our world with wisdom for the weary.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:10
If our heart is truly tuned to the cause of Christ, if in fact we actually are centred around the gospel as a planet orbits the sun, then Paul’s words begin to ring true—glory in unexpected places is precisely his point. But if the veneer of my life showcases my own ability, my own fortitude, my own wisdom, my own strength—then who gets noticed? Who gets the glory? Is the gospel even portrayed at all?