Be a Real Trendsetter in Times of Hashtags

The world looks for trendsetters. Priya Prakash Warrier became an overnight sensation just because she winked and set the trend.

On social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, we see the most-trending topics with a hashtag (#).

#MeToo was a twitter trend, and it set social media on fire. Many high-profile celebrities gathered around this and shared their stories.

Tarana Burke, an American social activist and community organizer, began using the phrase “Me Too” as early as 2006, and the phrase was later popularized by American actress Alyssa Milano on Twitter in 2017. Milano encouraged victims of sexual harassment to tweet about it and “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”. The true colour of many who were in high position of power and influence were uncovered, as people shared their stories of sexual abuse.

We are wired in such a way that we look up to someone or the other for our lifestyle, flow of thoughts and character. The advertising industry takes advantage of this and brings in the celebs to market products so that the products become a trend.

As we see the world following the vain desires of fame, wealth and positions, the church and the leadership should stand up to reverse the culture.

Movies and games like PUBG are released with the intention that they become a trendsetter—from action sequences to dialogues. The youngsters catch these trends and emulate them.

In this culture where trends are largely being set by the secular media, where does the church come into play? What are we called to do?

Are we chosen by God to see and view the trends and emulate them or does God desire that we become trendsetters?

#Abraham

God called out Abraham from the Ur of Chaldeans to become a trendsetter with regard to His plans and purposes.

“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kin and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12:1–3).

In the King James Version the first part of the verse goes on like this “Get thee out of thy country”. When we get the call of God we are separated out of the world to impact the world. We somehow give a lot of importance to separation and not give much importance to impact. We should never forget that we are called to transform and bless. Isolation is not the answer. We are to be insulated from the worldly patterns and should chart the way for transformation.

Abraham had to orient his life and set the trend in the light of God’s calling. When Abraham obeyed the call, God was faithful to him. He set the trend for God to move in and through his life

#Israel

Israel as a nation was called to be the trendsetter as God repeatedly spoke to them through Moses.

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”(Deut 7:6 ESV)

The Law of the Lord was given to them and they had to impress it upon the generations. The Lord wanted them to be constantly aware of the statutes and decrees of the Law that they would talk about it always. This trend had to continue. It was the law that set them apart and they were not supposed to be like heathen. They had a calling to be different. They had to raise the bar when it came to life and conduct.

#Church

As the Lord Jesus spoke to the disciples and the people from the Mount of Beatitudes, He commissioned them to be the “Light of the world”. The Jewish community regarded the glory in the face of Moses as the trend and gave utmost regard to it. When Moses came down from the mountain with the Law of God, his face was shining brightly that the people had to cover their faces with a veil and Paul commented “Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts”(2 Cor 3:15).

God called out Abraham from the Ur of Chaldeans to become a trendsetter with regard to His plans and purposes.

It is in this context that the Lord Jesus spoke from the Mount to a group of people who were mainly from the marginalised sections of the society and declared to them that “You are the light of the world”. The implications were huge and the Lord Jesus, in other words, exhorted them to be trendsetters.

Jesus is the light of the world and His light shines on us! We are not to turn to the world for our identity. When we see the Lord Jesus and the light that shines in His face by the preaching of the gospel, we, in turn, are transformed to be the light in the society and the beauty is we become the trendsetters. We shine as stars in a crooked and perverse generation. “In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life” (Phil 2:15–16).

The light in us changes from one glory to another as we look unto the Lord by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to us to be distinct and to shine the best. We should therefore give less importance to theatrics and external performance and concentrate much on life and teaching. We should come to the understanding that worship is a lifestyle that happens much off the stage than on the stage where our life and testimony sets the trend.

As we see the world following the vain desires of fame, wealth and positions, the church and the leadership should stand up to reverse the culture. We have to set the #trend. Sadly we see a generation looking for trendsetters and when the church is not answering them, they are lost.

Thus, Paul said to Timothy to be a trendsetter.

“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:11–12 ESV).

The mandate is clear. If we make a choice to evaluate these five areas of our life—speech, conduct, love, faith and purity and give ourselves to set the trend, the generations will catch up and the world would be lit up.

 

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