'The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!' And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, 'This is truly the Prophet Who is to come into the world.' Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
We live in an idol-worshipping nation. Consider this clue: 'American Idol' is the most-watched television show in history.* Now, we're 'Dancing With The Stars' and listening to 'The Voice.' But are they His stars and is it His voice? If 79% of our population is Christian, then God's people are standing at these same altars.
Leading exports of the United States include media and celebrity. It's understandable that rising performers might seek fame. They grew up with it. But that was then, and this is now. A time such as this calls us to a different perspective: one that comes only from above.
Fame, if it is from God, will chase you. So don't chase it. But don't run from it, either. Whether it's a small spotlight or a large one, you are destined to walk in it. So learn how to walk like Jesus.
Here's the thing: adoring fans seek a purpose and a place they've yet to find. They are vulnerable; they are 'Like sheep having no shepherd' (Matthew 9:36). They look for someone to lead them away from their brown grass to greener pastures--even if only in their minds. But be wary of their praise.
Their compliments can plant deception in your heart. You start to believe their worshipping words. Then like a narcotic, you crave more. Instead of being transformed from glory to glory into the image of the Lord, you are transformed from flattery to flattery into an image as false as the lies that created it.
God warns us throughout the Bible of the dangers in idol-worship. But never has it been so easy for a mere mortal to become an idol. The magic of media has multiplied idols like Jesus multiplied loaves. But His bread was life-making. Idols are life-taking.
Therefore, refuse that role. Paul, Barnabas, and Jesus refused. Don't be an idol in your church. Don't be an idol in your school. Don't be an idol on stage. How do you avoid it? One way is to reveal your own humanity. Jesus did. He published His moment of weakness--pleading with His Father to release Him from the cross.
Soon came a moment of strength so powerful the world changed forever. In His Book, God reveals the faltering and mistakes of great heroes, like Moses, David, and every original disciple of Christ. His earthly stars were human. Clearly, their elevation was divine.
Another way to avoid becoming an idol is to refuse flattery.
To Be Continued...
*American Idol was the #1 TV show for seven straight years (2005-2011). http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/television/news/story/2012-01-14/American-Idol-endurance/52625742/1
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the How To Handle A Compliment series.