Again he asked, ‘what shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.’” (Luke 13:18-21 NIV)
Fairly regularly I receive advertisements for youth conferences via email and regular mail. All make promises like: “Your youth will never be the same!” “This weekend will change your life!” “This will be THE youth conference of the year! “Be a part of what God is going to do in fill in the city!
It is what I refer to as the “hyperization” of the Kingdom. Everything, seemingly, has to be big to be great. BIG crowds. BIG-named bands. BIG-named speakers. BIG movement of God. And because everything has to be BIG, then the PR has to match. Every event is promoted as “life-changing” or something at which the great power of God will be seen. This trend has even trickled down to the smallest gatherings of churches and youth groups, with pastors or members promoting or summarizing services or events in grandiose terms.
All I can say is, if God is moving in the way it is being described by so many, then the Church and the culture would look far different than it does. The hype, I fear, is way bigger than the reality. This is not to say God cannot/will not move mightily, but the key to that is a true moving of the Holy Spirit and He will not be hyped into action.
This, I believe, is the mistake much of the Church is making today. We think the Holy Spirit needs our hype and PR to make things happen. “If we hype it, He will come,” seems to be the motto. There is indeed a similar mantra in our culture, but the Kingdom of God is not like the one in which we live. “What is it like?” Jesus asks rhetorically. He then goes on to describe the smallest of things—a mustard seed and yeast—that defy their size in growth and impact. Jesus is saying the Kingdom of God is not about size, but rather spiritual power. Like nuclear material, it doesn’t take much to have a huge impact.
What we need for God to do great things and the Holy Spirit to move are not hyped-up promotions, big crowds, awesome speakers, and loud music. Rather, it is the willingness of the individual heart to allow Him to enact change within us, to humble ourselves before Him, and allow Him to do His life-transforming work. No amount of hype can make this happen.
Today, be on your guard against spiritual hype. It may be trendy, but it runs counter to the basic realities of the Kingdom of God. The Lord’s power is not found in the hype, but in the smallest expressions of faith that we can trust Him with our hearts. When we can do this, big things will happen in and through us.
© Jim Musser 2015