“The Medium is the Message”

That’s a quote by someone I hadn’t heard of – a man called Marshall McLuhan. He was a Canadian philosopher, who predicted the Internet about thirty years before it was invented. He examined the effect media has on us and wrote in a book published in 1964: “The medium is the message”. In other words, you could say: “Life is precious”, but if you wrote that on the side of a gun or an atomic bomb, the message would lose its meaning because of the way it was put across.

This could just as easily apply to you and me. If you like, our life is the medium. People are watching us, like they would watch a character in a TV-show. We can give any message we like, but if our lives don’t back it up, it won’t carry any weight. I could say: “As a follower of Jesus, I’m not afraid of anything”, but put me in a room with a dog and you’ll know that’s not true. A more honest thing to say would be: “I know Jesus can help me when I’m afraid, and as one of His followers, I wish I loved all of God’s creation like He does”.

James confronts a problem when he writes: “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3:10). He’s effectively saying: The medium is the message. You’re meant to be living like Christ. People are watching you, and Paul explains it this way: “He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20). As Christians, yes, we should live primarily to please God; but in a sense, it does matter what people think of us because we’re representing Christ to them. Our lives are preaching His message, so how we live is important. Sometimes I feel terribly inadequate. I see the ways I’m unlike Him and feel such a pale representation of who He is, but we’re not the best judges of ourselves. Sometimes we can forget how far we’ve come, and we don’t see ourselves the way God sees us. What I’m trying to say is, don’t be discouraged. Jesus said: “You are the light of the world”. Let your light shine out to those around you.

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