Is it wrong for Christians to have a platform?
While I began to cover that idea last week, I did not get to the heart of the challenge. As I mentioned in last week’s post, Christians are to have and exert influence. Without influence we cannot make disciples. And we are commanded to make disciples by the One who has all authority (Matthew 28.18-20).
To have an influence is, in effect, to have a platform. But having a platform with a few is much different than having a platform to reach the masses. And, for the Christian, that is the challenge.
I clearly stated last week that it is not wrong to have influence. And to some extent we all have influence – whether it be for good or bad. But when we have a platform our influence reaches further. Again, this fact alone should not deter a Christian from taking advantage of a platform that s/he has been given.
But, for the Christian, desiring a platform is different.
Or is it?
The real issue is why we desire a platform. Do we (specifically, referring here to Christians) desire a platform to make ourselves known or to make Christ known?
I believe that many individuals desire to influence others for the cause of Christ. But the temptation to make our lives about ourselves is real. The Bible speaks about pride and it is that pride that has caused many to fall flat.
We must understand that a person who may seemingly have no influence can have as much or more pride than someone who may have influence over hundreds, thousands, or even millions. The size of the audience does not indicate how much pride a person has; but the heart can easily deceive us into thinking we are more than we are because more people care about who we are or about what we have to say.
A verse that God has set center on my heart this year is 1 Corinthians 10.12. The verse says: “Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Other verses that speak of the dangers that come from the heart include Jesus words in Matthew 15 about the heart being what defiles us (see verses 10-20). Jeremiah 17.9 reminds us that the heart is deceitful above all things and is not easily understood. And John tells us that pride of possessions (or of life depending upon the translation) is one of the three categories of sin that can trap us (1 John 2.16).
It was pride that caused the downfall of man when the serpent told Eve that she was missing something that God had (knowledge of good and evil, see Genesis 3.5). It was a lack of pride that brought about the redemption of man when Jesus neglected to bow down to the devil for the sake of earthly gain (Matthew 4.8-10). And it was true humility that carried Jesus to the cross and gave Him the ultimate authority (and influence) that He has now, and will have for eternity (Philippians 2.5-11).
So, pride is the danger of having influence and thus of having a platform. But, as Jesus showed, we can have a tremendous amount of influence through humility. (If you don’t believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, you must still consider His influence. Answer the following question: What year is it? 2019. Whether you say AD (which is the Latin for “the year of our Lord”) or CE, the change of date to count upwards coincides with the Christ – and that is influence!)
And this idea of having a platform for influence brings us back to the same place this week where last week’s post ended. Let me restate what I said last week:
Having a platform to influence others is not wrong. But the trick is not to abuse whatever platform we have.
Because to have a platform is temporary. It is an opportunity, but that opportunity comes from God and will be removed from all of us at some point.
So, to answer last week’s question in brief, we should remember that any platform we have (whether we are a follower of Christ or not) comes from God. Certainly, some will abuse that platform (including Christians), but that is because of pride, not because of God.
I will continue this short series next week because this topic is very near to my heart at this time. It is possible, even likely that my platform is about to be extended. And that has me excited – and concerned. Because I know my heart can deceive me. And I do not wish to be deceived.
Therefore, I am writing these posts as a reminder to myself, and hopefully as a help to you, that to live for Jesus does not mean that we must forgo being influential and having a platform (to live in the world), but we must guard against the dangers that would have us fall prey to the world (to live of the world).
Until next week, may you and I embrace what it means to live in, not of, and to use our influence to help turn this world around for the benefit of Christ.