Everywhere we turn there seem to be messages of good vibes, self-love, acceptance, etc. Throughout history and in different cultures, Christians lived/live in a world where they seem to be the only people who desire goodness. Now in America we seem to live in a world where the aspiration is to appeal to as many people as possible with feel-good messages. We want to be loved, we want to be accepted, we want a following.
I googled, “good vibes” and here are a couple of popular social media quotes that came up;
“Be such a beautiful soul that people crave your vibes.”
“I’m all about good vibes, big goals, amazing experiences, less pain, more happiness, healthy relationships and focusing on what matters.”
“vibrate so high that toxic people in your life fall back, because they no longer know how to approach you.”
On the surface, I can totally see how something like this would be appealing. We want to avoid anything that is uncomfortable, convicting or hard. We want to fill our lives with happiness, brightness, healthy lifestyles and fun relationships. I’m starting to find that this is the same message we’ve been receiving for a while now, just in a white-washed, letter-board, Instagram photo package.
The message is one of prosperity. That God’s will for you must only be “good vibes”, and if anything or anyone interrupts that it must not be from Him. This may seem trivial, but it is oh so dangerous my friends.
If we believe this message, we start to believe that the Word of God is about us. We start to believe that self-discovery and self-help are at the center of what is important. John Piper states in a message of his,
“I’m not on a mission to help you feel good about yourselves. I am on a mission to help you feel so good about the greatness of God that you forget about yourselves and live a life of love, making others glad in God. I’m going to say that again because in our twenty-first-century mold and time on the back end of the crest of the wave of self-esteem, it needs to still be said.
I am not here to make you feel good about yourself. That’s a low salvation. That’s a low-level, American gospel message. I am here to make you so happy in God — to help you feel so good about the glory, majesty, beauty, justice, love, truth, and power of God — so that in all that, you forget about yourself.”
Some of you reading this may think this statement to be fairly harsh.
But the truth is that what Piper speaks of is a beautiful, wonderful, undeserved, and merciful grace. Scripture says that, “we were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” (Titus 3)
Now this is not a scripture we usually see cleanly pasted over a nice white-washed photo of nature. And why not? Because it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good to confront sin. It doesn’t feel good to examine our hearts and realize that on our own we are bound for death.
But friends, it doesn’t stop there…
“BUT when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3)
It is only in the face of the realization of our own depravity that we can look up and see Christ, extending TRUE love, goodness and mercy.
There is no filter that hide your blemishes from the one and only God who sees, knows, and cares more intimately for your heart than you can ever imagine. There is no quote to write on your letter-board that compares to a life that is centered on the true-ness of our heavenly Father. There is no celebrity lifestyle with washboard abs, modern farmhouse, supportive spouse and two perfectly trendy children who can compete with the life that God extends to us.
Friends, please don’t let yourself (as I so often do) become the center. Don’t believe the lies of 'good vibes'. ‘Good vibes’ mean nothing when placed before the goodness of God. People who offer you this message will leave you in the dust when things start to get real because what they believe is shallow. But God never will. He knows your deepest sin against Him, yet loves you just the same.
Another glorious truth is that believers in Christ are called to love one another and challenge one another in this same way! It can be tempting to only want to spend time with people who help you forget about this high calling. It's hard to live in a community where you see sin, and people see yours. This authenticity and genuine love can only be achieved through the saving power of Christ. So let's be real with one another. Talk about sin. Talk about God's goodness. Be the Body.
Let’s stand in the face of the fads and trends of culture and offer real truth. Let’s not support authors, musicians and celebrities who parade a kind of ‘Christianity’ formed by copying and pasting bits of scripture that make them feel very nicely about themselves. God is very serious about His glory, His love and His truth and we should be too.