Is this one for the people?
Is this one for the Lord?
Or do I simply serenade
For things I must afford?
From the DC Talk song “What If I Stumble?”
With the opportunity to play and perform my own songs on a semi-regular basis, it can be a constant tension between doing something I enjoy and getting all the rewards, benefits from it OR doing something that is an act of worship to the Lord. Honestly, my hope is that it is first an act of worship…before anything else. That the process of being a Christian artist (yes, I have no problem with that title) is first and foremost, about Him. From there, the blessings and byproducts are just an added bonus.
That’s my hope anyway. But it doesn’t always go that way. Today I want to talk about platforms. The platforms that are easy for us to see are the the pastor, speaker, artist, author, the worship team and so on. All the folks who physically get up on a stage or platform and become highly visible (at least for a few moments). But I believe we all have a platform when we consider our lives. Our interactions and spheres of influence. Our social media feeds where we share our lives and thoughts. Our businesses or schools in which we have reputations and a standing amongst others. Platforms may come in different shapes and sizes. Small or large. But all of us have one.
What I hope to do today is dive into how we use what we have for the glory of God. Some of this is directed at those on the stage. Some of it is not. You may never take a “stage” so to speak and that is ok. But much of this applies in general terms to the ones you do affect.
As we begin, here are some thoughts and questions I’ve had after recently going out to perform in front of others. These help frame some of the context of where I am going today:
The allure of the stage can be deceiving.
Is this done under my power or God’s?
Will it be my glory or His?
Is this my ministry or His?
All this being said and the “stage” (no pun intended) being set, let’s jump in once agin.
1. Having a platform comes with a price
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33
In Luke 14, Jesus lays out the cost of being His disciple. His goal is to get His followers to think about the end point; not just the start. What will it cost you to follow Him? When we receive a call from God, it is a holy calling. It is something that must not be taken lightly. And we give back to Him in worship. When we realize we have a platform in which to proclaim His truth, we understand how humbling this is because we are not perfect. But Christ is. We put aside our own glory, our own fame, even our own reputation in order to serve the Kingdom and what benefits the most.
2. Many want a bigger platform but are not ready for it
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
In a Tik Tok or YouTube age, it’s easy to get enamored with and jealous of the ones who seemingly become influencers overnight. Social media has done a great job of showing just the highlight reels. The best of everyone’s lives. But the path of a Christ-follower and an influencer at any level must not be to seek the stage for the stage itself. If God gives you a great sphere of influence, many followers, and a large reach, praise Him! It is His work and His enabling. Realize it can be here today and gone tomorrow. But the heart is what He is after. Many, I believe, do not get the platform they seek because the Lord is trying to protect them. To have it would ruin them because they would not be ready for it and mature enough in their faith to handle the responsibility. And so many have downfallen because they were not able to withstand the pressure and the temptations. May we continually seek His glory with any amount of influence He gives us.
3. Be the same person behind closed doors as you are in front of others
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. Proverbs 10:9
In a word this is called integrity. It is getting harder and harder to find even in Christian circles. I believe it is because we seek a quick route to the top. Even though it may be hard to fake it around some, our true hearts and motives deceive us. We want the best for our lives. We want to succeed. Sometimes that means stepping on others to get where we want. Putting others down. Gossiping. Slandering. In our pride, we forget that even the Son of Man washed feet. He took the lowliest position and simply served. That is the type of heart God rewards and is looking for. Integrity must mark us as Christians. God will bring the reward and the increase in His timing and the form He desires. Again, He is concerned with the condition or our hearts. Are our motives pure?
4. Return glory back to where it is due
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:12
One of the things I’ve been trying to do (not always with success, mind you) is to take any words of encouragement, accolades, and “atta boys” and bring them back to the Father. It’s as if to say “Here Lord, this is Yours.” Because I know myself. I know I can get a big ego and get puffed up as I take in compliments and don’t funnel them back to the source. God is the source of all that I do. Why should He not get the glory? And that is in the ups and the downs. He gets all of it. When we return glory back to where it is due, it puts us in our rightful place. It helps diffuse the bomb of pride and ego. Because the platform (any platform) can mess with us. It can get us thinking about “How can I use this for my own glory?” It always has to be about Him. Everyday, all the time.
5. No matter the platform, be willing to be used right where you are
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Zechariah 4:10
There is nothing wrong with being used right where you are and not thinking or hoping (or even dreaming) of something bigger. It’s the “grow where you are planted” mentality. The harvest field that is in front of you might just be your kids. It might be your neighbor or a co-worker. We don’t have to go very far to find someone that needs to know the love of Christ. I keep coming back to it but it really is an issue of the heart. When our hearts are humble and hungry, we know it doesn’t matter the size of the platform. It becomes less about numbers and more about one-on-one interactions that truly speak into and affect lives. When we come before the Lord with an open heart and willing posture, He will move in us and through us. Don’t get caught up on the size, shape, look of the platform or position of influence. Just be caught up in Him.
As I close this out, I hope the balance between talking about small and large here makes sense. We all have someone to minister to and that is your “platform” if you are willing to consider it as such. I know that word may be difficult for some to want to use and if it is, just change it. Maybe it’s just your circle. Your tribe. Your people. It’s those who come in contact with you and are affected by your words and actions.
I think the way we change the world isn’t so much on the grand scale with huge numbers and sold out stadiums. I think it is through the daily, personal touch we place upon others in our path. The touch of Christ. I see so many who are looking for answers and looking for hope. They don’t know Jesus (yet). But what if they see you or I and have a chance to meet Him through us? What an awesome opportunity to minister and show His love and grace. That is how we change the world and turn it upside down. One soul at a time. Use your days wisely as the verse below states. But above all, use them His glory, honor, and praise! God bless you as you go out and minister to someone today!
Sign up to get these blogs delivered to your email inbox! Visit http://derekcharlesjohnson.com/as-bold-as-lions
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17