Pop Culture v. The Bible

Pop Culture vs. The Bible: For the Sake of His Praise

Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out. I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. I will rescue you for my sake — yes, for my own sake! I will not let my reputation be tarnished, and I will not share my glory with idols!  ~ Isaiah 48:9-11 NLT

For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. ~ Isaiah 48:9-11 NIV

For My name’s sake I defer My anger, and for the sake of My praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried and chosen you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I do it [I refrain and do not utterly destroy you]; for why should I permit My name to be polluted and profaned [which it would be if the Lord completely destroyed His chosen people]? And I will not give My glory to another [by permitting the worshipers of idols to triumph over you].  ~ Isaiah 48:9-11 AMP

One of the questions that rotated in my mind while I was putting together my manuscript for My God and Me was, “What is the purpose of anything when nothing is permanent?” Without permanence, nothing seems to matter. The only constant in life is change. You’re fighting against a rising tide when you try to keep life the same as it has always been.

Pop Culture

At the end of summer, I watched Up in the Air with George Clooney. Someone who had read my book suggested I might enjoy the movie. I did. The theme that emerged was the purpose of relationships. George Clooney’s character, Ryan, was a devout and confirmed bachelor who saw no value in any type of emotional attachments. He lived on the road, in the air and hotels most of the year, spending only 80 days annually in his apartment, which was across the country from his family. As the storyline develops, we learn his younger sister is getting married. Not only does she want him to show up, she asks for his help with preparations leading up to the wedding. Ryan expresses some irritation but valiantly attempts to satisfy the requests. The more he does for his sister, the more he realizes that his self-absorbed and remote life may not be the best way to live.

Crisis: The sister’s fiancé, Jim, got cold feet and called off the wedding hours before the ceremony. Ryan was called upon again, for a far more urgent matter than before, to assist his sister by speaking to the terrified groom. Throughout the whole movie, Ryan talked about how marriage and other attachments were a waste of time. Before he could even attempt to speak with Jim, he had to dig deeper into himself for something worthy to share with Jim. He didn’t want to be dishonest and speak against his beliefs, however, for his sister’s sake, he did as he was asked.

When Ryan approached, the groom had this to say (paraphrased, transcript below): “I couldn’t sleep last night. I stayed up thinking about my life. I saw myself getting married to your sister. I saw us having children. I saw the children growing up and all the things we would have to buy for them. I saw them heading off to college. I saw your sister and me growing old. And I saw us dying. Then I thought, what’s the purpose of any of this? We’re going to die anyway; why get married?”

{As a woman, I was impressed that he actually saw the span of his life with this woman. Brownie points!}

George asked where his sister was while these thoughts were going through Jim’s head. She was in another room. “So you were in bed alone and lonely?”

“Yes.”

“Well that’s the problem. There’s no purpose for any of it. We are going to die. What matters is how you live and who you share your life with. That’s it.”

The Bible

That sounds so sweet and romantic! Wrapped with a Hollywood bow, you couldn’t ask for a warmer, feel-good moment. But according to Isaiah 48, there is a purpose for everything. We go through a life of affliction – pain, distress, grief; misery, sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution – for the sake of God’s glory. To overcome. Our purpose is to praise Him. Our trials are not to be an exception; they are to be the rule. However, when we give God His due, His praise – He ministers to us and make our circumstances of no effect on our ability to enjoy our life. Believers are to be visible examples to non-believers that the God we serve is a mighty God, able transform the most painful and dire of situations to our benefit. If our lives were completely rosy all the time, how then would God’s mercy, power and faithfulness be exhibited for others to see? We prove that He is most deserving of praise when we praise Him in our affliction. We are to praise him for His works. We are to simply give God honor for who He is.

God is not interested in sharing His glory with others. That means you – He is not interested in sharing His glory with you. Believers cannot allow others to think God is not the benefactor of our abundance, knowledge, success, and power. If people watching our lives think that we have achieved and succeeded on our own, then God is not receiving His Praise. We are not giving Him the glory.

The next time you’re tested, praise God. Whatever it is, you will overcome it. The God of Abraham is within you! He will not allow those who do not worship Him to triumph over those who do. Remember that.

Other Pop Culture vs. The Bible Posts

Whitney Houston & The Greatest Love of All
Amy Winehouse: When did she live?
Things Charlie Sheen Has Taught Me
Pop Culture Messiah (Michael Jackson)
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