Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17
Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men. Colossians 3:23
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Ephesians 5:1
It's a sure sign of the end of summer: Big Brother has crowned a winner, and Survivor has opened a new season. Best of all, The Amazing Race began tonight. I confess, I'm hooked on these reality shows. Add to these America's Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars and Hell's Kitchen, and you have a pretty good outline of my television viewing habits. You will not find any batchelors/ettes, Kardashians or housewives on my viewing list, however. I have to draw the line somewhere.
The reality shows are sometimes the only tolerable choices for the Christian viewer. At least for someone who only has antenna reception. Even these shows sometimes get on my nerves. I could hardly stand to watch Survivor the two seasons that Russell-jerk was on it. Why in the world didn't they vote him off????
There's something else that bothers me. Every season we can be assured there will be at least one token Christian on each series. I don't know that the producers look at it that way when choosing contestants, but it seems to happen. And every season I cringe at the behavior of the Christians. I remember one Christian mother and daughter team on The Amazing Race who were the most hateful, backstabbing, name-calling people in the race.
Several seasons ago there was a youth worker on Survivor. He played the game just like everyone else - the lies, the backstabs, the broken promises – and in the end when he was asked what the youth in his church would think of how he played the game, he was sure they would understand that this was “just a game,” and how he lived while he played the game was totally separate from his life in the “real” world.
This season of Survivor gives a 2nd chance to players who were previously voted out. On the season opener one Christian contestant said that after the first time she played, people in her church asked her why she didn't play harder, and they've encouraged her to do what she has to do this time around. So she says, “I'll lie and backstab like everyone else, and when it's all done I'll pray for forgiveness.”
I'm not condemning these contestants. They may be totally committed Christians outside of the games they are playing. I do want to point out that if they (or we) start rationalizing one area of our lives, what's to stop us from doing it in any other area of our lives? Doesn't it give us a license to sin? Can't the spouse now say, I'm going to commit adultery, and then I'll ask for forgiveness? Couldn't the teens watching their youth leader interpret his example to mean, I can cheat when I'm playing football, because it's just a game? Can't people put a little box around their jobs and think if they lie or steal it's okay – that's my work life. It has nothing to do with my life in the “real world.”
I say everything we do IS the real world. Take a look at our focus verses at the top of the page. They say WHATEVER we do . . . Not just what you do at church. Not just what you do at home. Not just what you do when there are other Christians around. WHATEVER you do. The kicker is, of course, the verses that tell us to be imitators of God. Let me hearken back a few years and ask the question: “What Would Jesus Do?”
God didn't give us compartments in our lives, though most people try to create compartments. The Holy Spirit doesn't just dwell in the part of us that wants to live right. He indwells the Christian completely. The problem is, most of us have trouble listening to Him. And if we hear Him, we're even worse at obeying.
There's not just money on the line for participants in reality shows. For the Christian there is also the responsibility to live as Christ commanded us to live. If that means being the first person voted off, so be it. The example you set to a nation in that one episode might be worth more than a million dollars. It might be worth someone's eternal soul.
Not many of us will ever appear on national television, but we have the same responsibility to live our lives for God. Remember the warning Jesus gave to anyone who causes someone to stumble (if you need a reminder it's in Matthew 18:7). Non-christians know we're supposed to be different. In fact, they seem to know how a Christian should live better than we do. They have high expectations of us, and the world loves it when we fail. But as Jesus said, “Woe” to us if our failure, especially when it's deliberate, causes a non-christian to turn from God. And woe to us if it causes a young Christian to be misled to believe that it's okay to sin.
As Christians when we strive to “outwit, outplay, outlast,” we need to remember that we outwit using the Bible's wisdom. We outplay following the Holy Spirit's lead. And we outlast for all eternity.