I have an Instagram account. Within that account I have uploaded 497 pictures. Many of those pictures are food or beer. Some of them are clothes…particularly sneakers I wish I could own. I post stuff about how much I like Texas Rangers baseball on Facebook and Twitter. I post pictures whenever I get a new tattoo. And every now and then I post some pictures of cool places Ive been able to go. I say this as a preface. I am no different from most people. I like to put on display the things I enjoy. Moving forward.
We live in a day and age where it is so simple to broadcast any little thing that entertains us.It is not uncommon for me to scroll through any one of my social outlets and see cross contaminated tales declaring God’s goodness, and the magnification of some “thing” that is evidence of that goodness. A new pair of jeans, a fancy meal, or a day off spent with friends. If this has become our billboard for the evidence of God’s goodness then we are promoting not the life changing gospel of the cross, but instead a trendier version of the prosperity gospel.
The book of Mark chapter 5 tells us the story of a woman who had dealt with a hemorrhaging in her body for twelve years. Twelve years of continual pain both physically and emotionally. Imagine dealing with some medical ailment for that long. It depleting your finances to visit doctor after doctor, and only for the bleeding to continue. In faith and desperation this woman went to where Jesus was to be healed of her bleeding. In the middle of a great crowd who she was not supposed to come near, she ventured. In the presence of the son of God, she reached out and grabbed a hold of His cloak. Upon feeling His power being trusted in, He turned around and addressed her. In her fear and reverence of what had happened to her she told Him what she had done. Jesus then comforted her and told her that her faith has made her well.
Made her well. Not Well dressed. Not well fed. Well. Her wellness made her new. It transformed her life. What is it we believe our faith has made us? If our material experiences are what we look to be our evidence of grace, then our gospel is false because clothes will fall apart. Our good food, beer, and coffee will just wind up in a toilet within 24 hours of consuming it and our good looks will go away in 20 years (or less depending upon how much of that good food you’re eating). If the good news we proclaim is “Because God loves me I am enjoying this new crap.”, then Christians in financially devastated countries are hopeless because they will likely never touch a new pair of selvedge denim jeans.
The good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen frees us, calls us, and renews us to the joy of newness of life. That joy is what we should be broadcasting for the world to hear. New life. When we hear and trust in this promise everything is changed, including the importance we place on all of our stuff.
My prayer is not that we will all delete our Instagram accounts or throw out our new jeans. I don’t want any of my friends to start drinking crappy coffee and skipping the meals you enjoy. Instead I pray that the evidence of the cross in your life changes the way you receive and interpret God’s fulfillment of the desires of your heart. Desire Him and delight in His glory.