Karaoke Christianity

Jon Burgess


Scripture: ““I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos‬ ‭5:21-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬


The people of Israel had their festivals down. People would gather from all around to offer their sacrifices and rock out to the latest harp solo. They felt so good while doing this and felt so pleased that God was with them. God was far from pleased. In fact He was far from them altogether. He wasn't listening to their well rehearsed religious lyrics, He was calling them on their real ones. The songs they were singing on the outside didn't match what they were signing on the inside. Demeaning the righteous, ignoring the poor, taking advantage of a brother, lying on a business deal and singing sweet ballads to the false gods under their beds. No, God doesn't like it when we sing His lyrics but don't live it. What are the lyrics: When our lives are living out the truth of our faith. When our lives aren't caught up in wrote relgious exercises but are splashing in the river of righteous living and justice giving. We are owning that song like we are the ones who wrote it!


There are many of us who love a night out with friends firing up the Karaoke mic and belting out the classics like pop stars! Whether it's singing "Purple Rain" by Prince in the gracious middle key of E minor or it's the infectious and easy to sing "Happy" by Pharrell Williams when we are having a good time so is everyone else in the room. It works for Karaoke but not for Christianity. God hasn't called us to pretend we are someone else. He has called us to be authentically true to who He's made us to be. The temptation is to sing of Jesus and His love and Sunday then live out the opposite of this truth on Monday. Karaoke Christianity is what the people of Israel were doing. They sang the songs God wrote but it wasn't who they really were when they left the festival. They were singing "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi but never taking a moment to actually pray in real life outside of their religious circles. Compartmentalized Chrisitianity isn't Christianity at all. Before we ever sing songs together on Sunday at church God is listening for the lyrics of love in how we are talking to our spouse, our children, our angry boss and our frustrating friend. Just like you wouldn't get up on Karaoke night and sing the words of Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love" while the music for the Righteous Brothers "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" are playing, neither should we say we love Jesus and then treat people like trash. The world can tell right away when we are singing lyrics that aren't really ours. Like Milli Vanilli in 1990, no one wants fakers in real life. If we are simply faking our faith God will call us on it and so will the world. No matter how hard we try, we can't "Blame It On The Rain". We must own the disparity between our walk and talk.


Lord, I pray that my life song would match Yours. That my life would match the lyrics You wrote on the Cross. In our image-conscious culture let me be more concerned with showing Your image rather then promoting my own. I pray that worship at weekend services would simply be in celebration of all I have been living out during the week!

Devotions for June 29

Amos 4,5,6
Psalms 86,87
Titus 1

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