“Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen..” (Hebrews 11:1)
Romans 12:2 instructs each believer to “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, and be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how we think. This will empower every believer to discern God’s will. We are encouraged to take our everyday, ordinary life and place it before God as an offering. We are not to become so well-adjusted to the culture that we fit into it without even thinking. Unlike the culture around us, we cannot afford to be dragged down to its level of immaturity,
This is definitely a word for the church living in a contemporary culture in which many things have become acceptable. We must be discerning of the times and diligent to resist the world’s propaganda and hype. Let’s begin with a few definitions:
Hype has various meanings according to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary. For the purposes of this post I’m using the one’s below: hyped; hyping
1: PUT ON, DECEIVE
2: to promote or publicize extravagantly
1a: DECEPTION, PUT-ON
Hype is also another term for propaganda
2: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
3: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause
We must be watchful and sober as Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” Peter also instructs the church that “the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7).
Let’s look a little deeper at 1 Peter 4:7-11 in The Voice translation, “We are coming to the end of all things, so be serious and keep your wits about you in order to pray more forcefully. Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. Show hospitality to each other without complaint. Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. If you’re called upon to talk, speak as though God put the words in your mouth; if you’re called upon to serve others, serve as though you had the strength of God behind you. In these ways, God may be glorified in all you do through Jesus the Anointed, to whom belongs glory and power, now and forever. Amen.
This is a time in which Christians must awaken, be sober and prayerful, but most of all love each other unwaveringly and unselfishly because love makes up for so many faults. Spiritual lethargy in the evangelical church has created a vulnerability to the subtle attacks of the enemy. Just imagine what things would be like today if the church were fulfilling it’s role in society as “salt and light,” rather that just talking about what the Founding Fathers envisioned for America.
The battle for our minds! In order to overcome the world and its influences, we must understand the dynamics of those attacks and the booby traps placed by our enemy, the devil. Many have fallen into the snare of culture, misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and so forth. Enslavement or bondage of the mind is achieved by means of insidious ideas and rhetoric that’s supplied to the mind. Once these ideas get our focus, our obedience is rendered willingly and we are unaware that we have become slaves to the enemy’s propaganda (hype). As a matter of fact, people are quite satisfied and have no desire to be free from the snare of this propaganda.
A good example of this is how conspiracy theories related to coronavirus (COVID-19) AND QAnon are impacting the lives of many. Now, in the era of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are used to spread disinformation and misinformation. The term or label ‘influencer’ has become very popular today, especially on social media. Instagram, the Facebook platform where influencers tout beauty, luxury and consumer culture has become an online home for conspiracies also. Many of the platforms have taken a strong stance against conspiracy theories.
Why is this?
Keep in mind groups like QAnon use these platforms to target specific groups. From a Christian perspective those who may be weak in faith or who lack a good understanding of God ways and His Word can easily become targets of disinformation or misinformation that appears to be religious in nature. Misinformation is the inadvertent sharing of false information. Disinformation is the deliberate creation and sharing of information known to be false. Remember Satan roams the earthlike a roaring lion seeking those he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Conditioning the mind creates a slave who doesn’t know it. We are constantly being fed harmful ideas that we adopt and learn to believe in, thinking they are all right, and so we ignorantly follow. This is done without our knowing that a keen, sharp, unscrupulous mind is seeking to control us. Scripture says, “Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to demolish any arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are to take prisoner every thought, every emotion, and subdue them into obedience to the Anointed One.
The Message Bible translates 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 this way, ” The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
Christ died to set us free! Living by faith in God requires a knowing in your spirit that God is faithful. The enemy’s plan is to cause you to doubt God’s faithfulness and instead put your hope in human wisdom and vain philosophies. But we must “See to it that there is no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, rather than in accordance with Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You will indeed be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what Christ wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, and develops well-formed maturity in you.
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd” (Hebrews 11:1-2 MSG).
Notes: All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
- Meriam-Webster Online, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary , s. v. “hype”, accessed February 20, 2021
- Meriam-Webster Online, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary , s. v. propaganda ”, accessed February 20, 2021