The Celebrity Syndrome

Exodus 34:14

Thou shalt worship no other god, for the Lord whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Celebrities, are everywhere! our society is inundated with them -- in every facet of the media, and in every profession; sports, entertainment, the arts, etc. Their faces and bodies grace the covers of just about every magazine in print. They're envied, idolized, enshrined, and to some people, treated as deity. Some, like Elvis, and recently, Michael Jackson have maintained a godlike status long after death.

I believe this hero worship comes about when the fan sees some inadequacy in his own life, and tries to identify with the life of his idol.

The Apostle Paul became an instant celebrity to the Laconians after they witnessed a miracle performed by him. They identified he and his companion as gods. Instead of seizing the moment, Paul immediately tore his clothes and reminded them that he is a man just like they are, and that they should turn from their idol worship to worship the True and Living God. Acts 14:11-15.

In another biblical incident, Herod the king gave so moving a speech, that the people said it was the voice of a god, not a man. However, unlike Paul, the king believed his own press, and refused to give God the glory. The result: the angel of the Lord struck him with worms, and he died. Acts 12:21-23.

Celebrities are people just like you and I that have been placed on a pedestal by their peers for some accomplishment. Their influence is so great that some have even become "experts" at solving people's problems.

This influence also becomes damaging when they're being imitated. Some people dress like them, eat the same food, exercise the same way as their idol, hang onto every word they say, in the hope that someway, somehow, something will rub off on them.

Some fans know more about their idol's life, than their own. Some go to great lengths to be a part of their lives, even to the extent of stalking them.

Christians are not exempt from this attitude. There are "celebrities" in the Kingdom -- preachers, singers, choirs, authors. This type of thinking for Christians is really damaging, because it places the creature over the Creator. If a Christian finds himself a "celebrity", humility is the order of the day, for whatever we do or say, or whatever honor is bestowed upon us, God is to be the recipient of the glory.

God is a jealous God. His jealousy unlike ours, is justified because He created us, and deserves our love and loyalty. He is not willing to share His position and glory with anyone or anything.

Admiring someone because of their acheivements is not wrong. The wrong comes in, when the celebrity believes his own press, and the fan becomes so obsessed with them, that they lose sight of God, and their own identity.

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