Two Questions to Determine If We’ve Sacrificed Principles for Popularity

There are many ways to grow a church, business, and social media audience. Some abandon truth, principles, and the gospel in order to gain success.
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Business owners, church leaders, and just about anyone on social media wants to see their endeavor grow.  Businesses want more customers, churches desire more congregants, and social media users want increased engagement (followers, likes, shares, etc.).

The question, though, is what we will do to achieve growth.  How far will you go to expand your reach and grow your bottom line?

God led me to think about this question during one of my daily devotional readings.  As I read the passage, he revealed to me that the text deals with marketing and the lines some cross to achieve growth.

Here’s the passage:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

– Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV)

After reading this a few times, the Holy Spirit told reminded me that, while growth is good, growth is not and ends unto itself.  Furthermore, sacrificing principles, truth, and the gospel for the sake of growth is wrong.

This made me wonder, “Have I done that?”

To help me realize if I ever have, God gave me two questions.

Question 1: What’s My Motive?

Why do I post videos?  Why do I create and post memes?  Why did I write 1X Evangelism?  God asked me to analyze my motives behind my actions.

Whatever the endeavor may be—church, business, social media—motives matter.

As I thought about my website and social media, I realized two motives:

  • A desire to glorify God by helping people in their daily lives
  • A desire to promote myself and, thus, expand my reach

The first motive is good.  The second, though, bothered me because it’s undergirded by selfishness and pride.  I immediately repented of that sin and asked God to move in me to grow the first motive and eliminate the second.

The Holy Spirit showed me that when I’ve motivated by pride, then whatever my content, product, or service, I’ve sacrificed principles for the sake of growth.

This led me to God’s second question.

Question 2: What’s My Message?

A while back, I looked at how we use social media stories and asked, “What story do our stories tell?”  When it comes to marketing and growth, the Holy Spirit asked to evaluate the content I create in light of the truth and the gospel.

He asked to determine if what I offer aligns with the gospel and truth, or whether it waters it down (or outright abandons it) in order to appeal to more people.  If I temper the truth in order to have growth, then I’ve crossed the line, regardless of the motive.

So what’s this all mean for you?

Bringing It Home

There are many ways to grow a church, business, and social media audience.  Some are worth doing; some are worth avoiding.

Finding creative, engaging ways to promote your services, products, or content is something we should encourage.   However, some people will do anything to ‘win’ or grow, even sacrifice what matters most: truth, principles, and the gospel.

When we do the latter, we need to repent of that sin and return to what matters.  We then need to research healthy, honorable, and principled methods to grow our audience or customers.

Online and in life, we should hold fast to the truth, even in the face of opposition and public outcry.  We should never sacrifice principles just to be more popular.

Fame is fleeting; truth is eternal.

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About John L. Rothra
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