I’m addressing the Church (the body of believers redeemed and reconciled to God through Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection).
Virtue Signaling is the secular world’s version of repentance. Everyone, and I mean everyone with a social media account is expected, pressured or coerced to virtue signal. Should Christians be caught up in this? I’m guilty of folding under cultural pressure at times. So, I’ll let you be the judge of your own heart and draw your own conclusions. The following is aimed toward my heart as much as your’s. I wrote about Hashtag Culture in 2018 and that accomplishes very little.
What the culture says:
Virtue Signaling Defined: the sharing of one’s point of view on a social or political issue, often on social media, in order to garner praise or acknowledgment of one’s righteousness from others who share that point of view, or to passively rebuke those who do not.
The term virtue signaling is often used to accuse someone of trying to win praise for showing support for a social cause without actually doing anything meaningful to advance it. This charge is often used against people for being self-righteously “woke” on social media.
The Conspicuous expression of moral values
Let’s look at some key characteristics of Virtue Signaling:
Social media (where)
garner praise (why)
one’s righteousness (who)
passively rebuke others (who)
trying to win praise (why)
Social cause (what)
Without actually doing anything meaningful (when)
self-righteously “woke” (why)
social media (where)
The “whys” above point to our motives…
What the Bible says:
Matthew 6:1-4 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
QUESTION: What is the motivation of your heart?
Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”
QUESTION: Do you actually DO GOOD works? Or just virtue signal good intentions?
Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
QUESTION: Does what you say or signal bring about unity or discord?
Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”
QUESTION: Are you faithfully taking actions in line with your words that bring honor to God and point people to Christ?
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!
Romans 12:17-21 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
QUESTION: Ask God to search your heart, are you seeking God’s justice or vengeance or something else?
Romans 16:17-18 “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
QUESTION: Are you orientating yourself to the truth of God’s word or the falsehoods of the world?
What is the solution?
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Romans 2:4 “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
Renew your mind!
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Luke 8:15 “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
James 1:22-25 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
In conclusion, Biblical faith is faith is rooted in words from scripture, animated by the Holy Spirt and expressed in actions by individual obedient believers. We don’t just signal the problems with the broken world, we have a cultural mandate that commands us to DO something about it.
One of the most effective ways to bring restoration is to serve those around you; the poor, the needy, the prisoner, the widow and the orphan.
Read previous post: “The Justice Impulse – what it means”
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Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” continues to be relevant in our cultural moment. His words challenge the church to embrace it’s full purpose. The extent to which the Gospel of the Kingdom is proclaimed and integrated into the life of the church is the extent to which the church is relevant and effective in society.
The quiescent church is the gateway to injustice, brokenness and disorder. The witness of the church should be felt throughout the culture as the Gospel message empowers believers to pursue justice and reconciliation, serve the needy, create beauty and restore what is broken. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin transforms the believer. This Gospel, rightly lived out will teach, sanctify and transform the society in which believers dwell. It will be distinctly ‘sacrificial’, restorative and bold in its expression.
Martin Luther King Jr. operated from a distinctly Christian worldview. It informed his purpose, his view of reality and drove his behavior. This nation has benefited from his worldview and his actions. His challenge to the church echoes today. Dr. King knew what he was about. Do you know what you are about?
We know what our salvation saved us from (eternal separation from God’s presence, goodness and joy).
But a better question is;
What is our salvation for?
[Put another way, what is the purpose of our salvation?]
Read: Martin Luther King Jr. ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’
Read previous post: Dear Mr. President – We are their only hope [Kurds]
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God is completely unlike anything we know or can comprehend. Man is very knowable. It seems completely rational that we can trust that which we know over that which we can’t completely comprehend. But, is that really the case?
Can we trust in that which we can’t fully comprehend?
Due to a busy life with work and family, writing is a rare pleasure these days. I don’t post on my blog as often as I like but I do continue to journal. I decided to share the outflow of some of the experience here.
As I wonder down the path of walking with God, each day brings a new experience. Recently I finished Dr. Ravi Zacharias’ ‘Grand Weaver’, I returned to a book that I’ve meaning to finish for several months, ‘The Knowledge of the Holy’ by A.W. Tozer. This classic dives into the nature of God. The study of the Bible makes up the majority of my reading and study.
The question many ask is ‘What is God like?’
We cannot fully comprehend the infinite because we are finite. Our limited capacity to understand that which is holy (separate and unlike anything we know) brings us to the edge of our understanding. It is at the edge of our understanding that we peer into an expansive and immeasurable light that is pure and endless. Welcome to the brink of the eternal. (more…)