Revering God’s Name

Anne Elisabeth Stengl's rescue dogI just saw a Facebook ad: “Hit ‘Like’ if you love Jesus.”

Is it wrong or sinful or a bad testimony to join the over 9,000 people who have hit “Like”? I’m not ready to go that far, but the first thing I thought when I saw that was, How cheap.

It’s like taking the most valuable relationship you can imagine and saying, show how much you love your spouse or your kids by hitting “Like.” Does hitting “Like” really show how much you love them?

It reminds me of an era gone by when there were bumper stickers saying, “Honk if you love Jesus.” Really? Honking or Liking shows you love Jesus?

Honk if you want that driver to wake up and realize the light turned green; honk if a dog is sitting in the road and won’t move, honk if another driver doesn’t see you and starts to swerve into you, but honk if you love Jesus?

Hit “Like” if your friend posts a cute picture of her new puppy, hit “Like” if a commenter says something you agree with, hit “Like” if someone cheers for your same sports team, but hit “Like” if you love Jesus?

These kinds of soundbite responses are typical of our culture, but I’m troubled when we reduce our relationship to our Savior and Lord to a one-second button push or, in the olden days, a tap on the horn.

I’m wondering if such a costless and near anonymous declaration isn’t also meaningless, and maybe worse. When we put Jesus on a par with the thousands of other things people can “Like” on Facebook, aren’t we actually demeaning Him?

Scripture says, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness of Deity to dwell in [Christ]” (Colossians 1:19). Yet we’re saying, treat Him the way you treat your favorite actress or singer or politician. Or your friend’s real estate business or restaurant or antique shop.

Clearly, not everyone treats God this way–because some never had any reverence for Him and others believe Him to be high and Holy and beyond a gimmicky “Like” button. Sadly, I don’t see the former group taking much notice of God because a group of people are hitting the “Like” button to say they love Jesus.

If we truly love Him, we’ll obey His commandments. That’s what He said. And His commandments were two-fold: love God and love your neighbor.

If we truly revere God and His name, we’d do an act of kindness for our neighbor–something significant that cost us in time or in money. We wouldn’t honk as we drove off for the day, shouting out the window, I just wanted you to know I love you. We wouldn’t flash a “Like” sign when we spotted them walking to their front door.

Those are cheap expressions that might make us feel warm and fuzzy for a few seconds, but they in no way lift up God’s name or show Him as the one we worship as Creator and King.

How can we expect a world in need of our Savior to give Him a second thought when we treat Him in such a cavalier, perfunctory way? How could anyone believe we have a genuine relationship with someone we treat with such disrespect? How can they believe He is God when we so clearly don’t treat Him as a person who is worthy of our highest praise, not our quick hit of the “Like” button.

David said in Psalm 18

The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock
And exalted be the God of my salvation.

Declaring God’s greatness and His attributes and His work to rescue us, deliver us, enlarge our steps, and set us on our high places is far removed, in my view, from hitting the “Like” button.

Of course we’re not all poets like King David was, but we can sing out the praises he wrote, and we can scratch out our own praises in our poor prose, we can certainly cry out our thanks to God in prayer.

And we can “Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (Col. 1:10a).

Hitting the “Like” button . . . may we think better of God than that.

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16 Comments

  1. That is true. I call it a Jesus culture where one wonders if people are in love with a lifestyle more than the life of living for Jesus?

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    • Interesting thought, Nikole. I never thought the Christian lifestyle was something people would love. I mean, taking up our crosses, denying self, turning the other cheek . . . the Christian life has always seemed challenging to me. But I get what you’re saying–these folks aren’t concerned with a lifestyle of obedience. The image that comes to my mind are those Jewish religious leaders who wanted people to see them praying and walking around looking as if they were concerned about the law, about “spiritual things.” I’m guessing this kind of Facebook ad appeals to people with a similar mindset.

      Becky

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      • We have a Christian pop culture that has nothing to do with any of that. Words, yes, but just words. If you were to put a Christian who is a fan of Jesus in the middle of Iran or northern Nigeria or in Egypt, their hearts wouldn’t be ready. The American Christian is willing to help in situations that are comfortable with little interruption to their lifestyle.

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        • Your comment reminded me of what one of our pastors said–Christians can be like fans of a sports team or like members of that team. There’s a world of difference though both might wear the jersey.

          It’s sad to me that we are mixing up the two and that onlookers mistake fans for members. Fans are fair-weather, and then only if they feel like it. They don’t know the play book and often disagree with the coach and criticize the players. Team members look very different from that.

          Becky

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          • I agree. A missionary I know doesn’t use the word Christian to describe us because its misused. He works in a foreign country.

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          • Not to generalize everyone in one lump however.

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  2. Becky, Wow! This is such a true assessment of our cavalier, drive-through religious mentality using a very popular method to express one’s “commitment.” Thank you, again, for helping to rightly influence our thoughts, Scripturally.

    Prov. 9:10, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

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    • Yes, Kim, I think the quotations around commitment say it all. It’s easy to hit a “Like” button, but a completely different matter to surrender our lives and allow God to be Lord. Great verse you quoted!

      Becky

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  3. Thank you for the reminder, Becky. I recognize that doggy face! 🙂 I have always believed that animals number among “the least of these” to whom we should show kindness. God brings needy people and creatures into our lives every day, and we are to represent Him in every possible way.
    Blessings to you!

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    • Yes, Jill, I thought you might recognize her. 😀

      Her picture and story are definitely something to “Like.” As are many other good and worthy pages, causes, people, and creatures. Some are cute, others touching or thoughtful. It’s just that God is above it all, and as I’m sure you agree, we need to keep Him in His exalted place. Such an amazing truth that this high and Holy God makes His home in our lives!

      Becky

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  4. I could not agree with you more. This is not unique to today’s technology enslaved generation, however. I remember The Way It Was In The Before Time a popular bumper sticker read “Things Go Better with Jesus!” — comparing the Logos tou Theou with a common soft drink. Another species of this dishonoring came in the form of “May The Force Be With You, His Name Is Jesus!” when John tells us that God is Light and in Him is not one single speck of darkness at all (the import of the Greek). This is what happens when so-called “pop culture” dominates our thinking and not God’s express declarations about Himself. The result is dishonoring sin. Thank you SO MUCH for reminding us of WHO GOD IS! Blessings upon you, Sister!

    Frater Haroldus

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    • Frater Haroldus, you’re right about this cheapening of God’s name or Christ’s person not being new. Each iteration has been disturbing. A Facebook friend likened this new version to what she termed “religious blackmail” emails. Whatever brings God down instead of point us to Him falls into this category, I think.

      I appreciate your comment.

      Becky

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  5. I also agree. The same people who would like or honk won’t say a word to the person next to them in the checkout line at Walmart for fear of offending them. Well, get over it! Not telling others about the love of your life is the same as denying Him. We are to be the light in this dark world. I love the song about, “If we’re supposed to be Jesus’ hands and feet, why aren’t we moving? Why aren’t we walking?”. Another song I’ve heard talks about Peter and Paul and what they went through to spread the gospel. The chorus says, “If it’s too hot, walk at night, if it’s too heavy, travel light”. In other words, do whatever it takes to get the Word out. And honking or liking doesn’t cut it.

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    • Wow! Great song lyrics. Thanks so much for sharing them! It seems to me the “Like” thing works against a person’s testimony. It encourages a “holy huddle” that stays with “our group.” And it puts the emphasis in the wrong place. It’s not that I love God but that He first loved me and gave Himself as an atonement for my sins.

      Becky

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  6. Yes! How true. (That’s a ‘like’ to your post)
    Similarly, a peeve of mine is the use of the word ‘awesome’. Everything is awesome. Cookies, dress attire, the winning touchdown catch. Do these inspire an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear? Should some words not be reduced to slang? Awesome, in my opinion, should be reserved to describe the works and person of the omnipotent God.

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    • Bob, good point about co-opting words that ought to describe God alone, for our own desire to ramp up enthusiasm for something of lesser value. Since “awesome” became a common expression, it has indeed lost its distinguishing power. I find now it takes more words to describe God and His character (like “high and holy”), but I’m OK with that. It makes me think about Him more. 😉

      Becky

      Like


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