market (verb): advertise or promote something
I was watching a programme recently and noticed something that happens around us daily. In the episode of this programme I watched, a family had just had their entire lives turned upside down and almost destroyed by the media's gross invasion of their privacy. The reporters seemed like vultures who just wanted to jump on whatever was hot in that moment until it was dead, and then move on to the new thing. What they (the reporters) never seem to do is take stock of the damage they do before moving on to the next thing. The way I saw it, there were three angles to this endless cycle: the subject of interest, the reporters and the consumers. I put consumers there because they are partly the reason why the reporters feel the need to always have something fresh. They are feeding the consumers!
In 2 Timothy 4:3 - 4, we are warned about Christians developing itchy ears (the consumers) and false teachers (the reporters) providing something for those itchy ears. The truth is, if the consumers don't feed on what is being offered, eventually, the reporters would have to stop and re-evaluate where they get their satisfaction from. But do you know what is even more disturbing about this endless cycle involving those three parties, there are actually only 2 players.... What I mean by that is, at some point, the reporters will turn on those very consumers to feed the other consumers.
False teachers cater to itchy ears which means they give the people what they want to hear/see. In the last few weeks, there have been numerous viral posts about various "preachers" performing various "maricales" in order to gain popularity. Some aren't even performing miracles; they're just doing insane things e.g. one pastor spoke on the phone during a service and claimed the other person on the line was God. We now live in a world where we consume fast and are never satisfied. It's the same with Christians today. We are always looking for the next preacher on the scene, never satisfied with just one because sooner or later, they stop saying what we want to hear. That's why preachers and pastors have lost sight of their calling. They try to cater to the needs of the christian consumer. For those who do operate on the anointing and aren't just assuaging itchy ears, life can be very different for them. It's like when Jesus started His ministry. All the pharisees and sadducees rejected what He was saying because it went against their 'traditions'. They never stopped to consider that the prophecy of Isaiah had come in the flesh. They wanted to please the people and keep things how the people liked it. They lost sight of what was important and as a result, did not catch the revelation that Christ had come.
It can be very difficult to discern when to follow a crowd and when to stick by what you know but that is why God gave us the gift of discernment. There are some crowds you should follow and there are others you shouldn't. Social media makes following very easy and it isn't always easy to discern those who are on there to promote their own interests but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can definitely avoid these ones. Like the slave girl with the spirit of divination who followed Paul, calling them the servants of the Most High, there are those who will claim to lead us to the way of salvation and will attract great crowds but do not be fooled. The Holy Spirit acts as a witness in us so and we know that any spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God (1 John 4:23).
My prayer is that we will not be caught in the marketing hype that can sometimes present itself as a godly following but rather, we will be led into a true fellowship with God where His presence is felt. Amen!