I’m scrolling through my timeline, and I see this image. It was a hyperbolic symbol bringing in two themes that are so well known to many people who can relate to faith-based traditions and black culture. This particular image was titled “The Gospel of Wakanda”. On the image, there were many references to that of a real series you might hear in a church, but in light of the cultural themes related to the popular movie “Black Panther”. Yes. I’ve seen the movie. Form the perspective of someone who absolutely enjoys a good storyline and plot, and appreciates a theme with a beginning and end, this movie pretty much met all of my expectations. I’m sure you’ve seen many people on your timelines and in your community raving about this movie who can relate to the theme and underlying significance. I am absolutely all for giving credit where credit is due! I enjoy being able to relate to some posts and references made about the movie. Yet it was something about this particular post that stirred something in me and made me uncomfortable. With intentions to accomplish what lots of other posts set out to do, the creator made this to be relatable, I’m sure. The reference to the movie and the black church culture stood out tremendously in this particular post, but I could not bring myself to entertain it and bring it attention.
“Mockery” is the first thing that came to my head. I’m sure most people looked at it in a different light and took it as a joke. While I can understand the intention behind it, I can’t help but wonder how many people saw beyond the surface on this one, because I think a lot of Christians miss these subtle moments daily. It’s not just this. Each day, small references, jokes, memes, conversations, and the like are beginning to tread the thin line that exists between discerning what’s right and what’s almost right. It wasn’t the reference to the black church experience that bothered me particularly at this moment (another post for another day), nor was it the acknowledgment of the effect the movie has on black culture. The mockery that bothers me is its comparison to the effectiveness of the gospel.
While the message of the movie is captivating and inspiring, it is not the gospel. ”Lauren, you are reading too much into this.” Doesn’t Jesus tell us to do so? Some great examples of using discernment are found in Philippians 1:9-10, Hebrews 5:14, Psalm 119:125, and the others. “Lauren, don’t be so focused on heaven that you’re no earthly good.” Jesus has lots to say about this rebuttal too. Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 2, 1 Peter 5:8, Hebrews 6:1-2 and others all show us that cultivating a spiritual-minded lifestyle is God’s desire for us. “Lauren, don’t be so judgmental! Jesus is still working on me.” Don’t be so quick to get out of heart checks, my friends! Here’s more of what Jesus has to say. Galatians 6:1-5, James 5:16, Romans 14:12, Proverbs 27:17, Luke 17:3, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and others all encourage accountability to one another as believers in Jesus.
WITH ALL THAT SAID, let me bring you back to my point in this post…IT STARTS SUBTLE.
I don’t think the enemy has much of a job now, and I believe we play a big part in that. Distractions. It’s the passive moments we often make to be small. Where our tolerance grows little by little each day because we’re afraid to offend anybody. Or where we see small things that don’t pronounce God’s glory loudly so we don’t think they’ll affect us negatively in our spirits. Christians seem more prone to defend unbelievers before they’ll defend brothers and sisters in Christ.
If he can keep us distracted for a little while, it’s all he needs to keep us from setting our affections on things above, like heavenly assignments and sanctification to accomplish them. It’s enough to win another soul for the kingdom of darkness. It’s not enough to just believe in God for yourself, and not always be sharing God with someone in some way.
Why do I take it seriously? It’s because God takes it seriously. While we’re ignoring these subtle signs; the enemy is subliminally watering his grass. Do you ever wonder why we are so shocked when we watch the news and learn of events that are destroying the world? God tells us these things are going to happen in His word, but we tell on ourselves when we dot read it. The music we listen to, what we watch, what and who we engage ourselves with is not just entertainment and happenstance. Everything God does is strategic, and you better believe everything the enemy does is strategic too. Especially because he knows God well, which is why he works so hard for us to not know God.
Our hearts don’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s a joke. That’s why God tells us to guard it and watch the way we speak. That’s why He speaks so specifically to intentionally using words. Even God used His own words to create the heavens and earth. Why don’t you think He has a purpose with the words you and I speak?! Even when we read and hear things, my challenge for you and I is that we prayerfully sort through it, and internalize only the things that agreed with God. Intentionally. Train your spirits to be discerning of things so you can be strategic in accomplishing the will of God today.