“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15
Have you ever thought about who is Lord in your life? This question came up recently in a broadcast on Moody Radio. They were talking about comments Lady Gaga made about Vice President Mike Pence’s wife going back to teaching art to eighth graders at her pre-Second Lady place of employment, a Christian school.
In case you’re not aware of Lady Gaga’s comments, you can find the entire story over on The Christian Post, CNN, and NBC. To sum up the article, basically she was telling her audience that Mrs. Pence is a horrible Christian for working at a Christian school that adheres to strict Biblical moral principles. She mentions the LGBTQ community specifically.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems completely expected that a Christian school would have rules against what the Bible calls sexual immorality as well as stealing, lying, adultery, and all the other sins the Bible purposely mentions.
So, why is Lady Gaga in such an uproar about it?
The commentator at Moody Radio put a perfect label on the problem. He called it “cultural Christianity.” He loosely defined it as modern-day people professing to be Christians without feeling the need to adhere to any Biblical moral code.
Now, before we go any further here, I want to clarify that I am not trying to stir anyone’s pot. My intention is not to get anyone on the defensive or hot under the collar. I’m simply trying to explain the broadcaster’s point and why I think he’s right. So, here we go.
Knowing vs. Understanding
The main thrust of the argument on the radio broadcast was that some (not all) Christians want all the feel-good things about God like healing, rescuing, comfort and such—which is great—but they don’t want to listen to any kind of authority, i.e. the Bible. They claim to know what the Bible says, but that’s about all.
In Lady Gaga’s case, she thought Mrs. Pence was wrong to work for a school that would discriminate against the LBGTQ community, that if she were a true Christian she wouldn’t stand in judgment of that community nor condone any institution that would.
That’s fair enough. I agree with Ms. Gaga…to a point. We should be loving and accepting of others just as Jesus did or else we can’t draw them to Christ. But she has apparently forgotten that it’s a Christian school.
Should the school not abide by what the Bible says? Or, should they abide by what culture says? I think any Christian school that is comfortable with being dictated by society instead of the Bible has a serious issue on their hands. I hope you agree.
So, this presents the question of whether “cultural Christians” even understand what the Scriptures mean, because it’s not enough to merely know the Bible. I can recite many of its verses and maybe you can too, but that doesn’t do us much good. We need to be able to interpret what these verses mean.
Hopefully, you recognize that is the main point of this blog—to explain the Scriptures so you can have a deeper understanding of what God intended when He wrote them, to increase your wisdom and understanding of the Lord.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
Through wisdom comes understanding.
We are All Sinners
The broadcast commentator, as well as call-in listeners, pointed out that we are all sinners, Christian and non-Christians alike. We can never be perfect enough for a holy God no matter how hard we try, which is why Jesus left His throne and came to the earth. He came to save us from eternal destruction.
In Matthew 9:12-13, Jesus was asked by the Pharisees why He eats “with tax collectors and sinners.” Jesus answered this way…
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [to be merciful] and not sacrifice [blood atonements]. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (my additions)
Sinners are the entire reason why Jesus took on human flesh, died on a cross, and rose again to sit at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:52-53).
So, if we are all sinners in need of a Savior, how does that match up with Lady Gaga’s comment? One might even suggest that she take the plank out of her own eye first (Matthew 7:5). The fact is we all need a Savior. Every single one of us needs Jesus and His saving grace. I think many people can agree with that.
Jesus is Lord
The problem comes in when, after Jesus saves us, we don’t allow Him to take the wheel. We still go to Him with our requests and we cry out to Him when we’re in a tight spot. But when the situation passes and God has delivered us, we go right back to what we were doing before. We go back to what we want to do without giving a thought to what God wants us to do.
Paul cautions us against this very thing in Romans 6:15-16, 19.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness…So now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”
We can’t ask God to rescue us and then go back to our sinful patterns. To do so would be a refusal to acknowledge that He is Lord. He’s not someone we send out an S.O.S to and then leave high and dry. If we are to be true Christians, we must concede that He is Lord. Not us.
Everything in the world must be approached according to what the Bible says. And, if the Bible says Jesus is Lord, then He is. We can’t pick and choose the parts of the Bible we like and throw away the rest. We need be willing to get off the throne of our hearts and let God rightfully sit there instead if we are to be true Christians.
Either He is Lord of our lives or we are.
Come as You Are, But Don’t Stay That Way
Lady Gaga commented out that all people should be accepted and loved, that “everybody is welcome.” This point is true, especially in Jesus’ eyes. But here’s another thing she forgot.
Jesus did invite us to come as we are. It doesn’t matter our circumstances or background. He just wants us to come and experience His grace and love. He absolutely wants us to come as we are, but He doesn’t want us to stay as we are.
We can’t grow in our faith if we continue being a “dog who goes back to its own vomit” (Proverbs 26:11, gross but true verse). We must be willing to change and become more Christ-like, more holy like Him. And, the only way to do so is by letting God be Lord in our lives.
This is where Lady Gaga trips up. We can’t be true Christians unless we adhere to what the Bible says and to Jesus’ commands. Remember, Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). How do we love Him? By keeping His commands!
The Infallible Bible
If the Bible, the infallible word of God written by the Holy Spirit, says sexual immorality, lying, stealing, adultery, and killing (among other things) are wrong, then it’s wrong. Plain and simple.
We can’t go back to those choices we made before we came to Christ, nor can we condone these sinful ways when others commit them. Rather, we are to love and welcome others while hating the sin just as Jesus does.
For Lady Gaga, it means she should be welcoming of others, but she should not be condoning or defending their sinful choices. Rather, she should be repenting, “turning away”, from them as Jesus does.
“[God] commands all men everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
What it goes back to is this. If Mrs. Pence wants to work as a Christian in a Christian school that abides by Jesus’ commands, then she is doing exactly what she’s supposed to be doing. She’s clearly working to avoid sinning by allowing God to be Lord in her life.
Who is Lord in Your Life?
Lady Gaga’s comments have certainly stirred up a debate, one that I am thankful for. But hopefully it stirs our hearts as Christians too. We have to ask ourselves who exactly is Lord in our lives?
Some people might be bothered by what devout, Bible-following Christians believe. But if they are indeed bothered, then it must be because the Holy Spirit is working on their heart and conscience.
God never condemns us, but He will bother (convict) our conscience when He’s trying to make a course correction in our lives. The question is if we will allow that correction, or do we push it away? Who is Lord in our lives and who do we obey? God or ourselves?
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.” Luke 16:13
We can’t desire the good stuff that comes with faith (comfort, healing, protection) but not want God’s Lordship. It doesn’t work that way. He alone is the Lord.
“From the rising sun to the place of its setting, there is none but Me. I am the Lord and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:6
I love the final word the commentator said during his broadcast, “Let us be inspired to have a more faithful, Biblically-based Christian witness” in the face of today’s cultural Christianity. Let us not fall prey to Satan’s deceitful works, but cling to the truth of God’s word and publicly, bravely live it out.
It begins by letting God be Lord in our lives and loving Him enough to keep His commands no matter what others say.
What do you think about Second Lady Pence going back to her long-time job as an art teacher? Share your kind comments with me. I’d love to connect with you.
Moody Radio is a Christian radio network in connection with Moody Bible Institute. Moody helps you take the next step in your journey with Jesus Christ by creating and delivering practical and life-changing content. They proclaim the Word to all cultures and generations by addressing today’s issues from a biblical worldview. To learn more or to find out where you can tune in, visit the Moody Radio website.