Hunger Games In The Church

Hunger Games, Matthew 6:33/Mark 1-6, April 2012
I think that Christians can redeem culture and present the Gospel in every matter of medium. Afterall, is not all Truth God's Truth? 

So, there is a movie out right now that has hit the screen running. The Hunger Games is a movie with a lot of themes. It is a critically acclaimed movie that has come under scrutiny and debate. With themes such as survival, competition, sacrifice, and death, we could lose an important lesson from this film if we are not careful. A theme I want to communicate in this blog.

Are you in love with the Enemy? I want to draw out one lesson that I saw in the movie. It is the lesson of the danger of falling in love with the enemy. 

It can be very easy to lose our passion for God when we try and share Him with another. Jesus said that we cannot have two masters. Christianity is based upon a one master principle. Otherwise, there are too many cooks in the kitchen, too many chiefs in the tribe, and too many Quarterbacks on the field. Some of you have two (or three or four) masters. Listen, only One has ever sat on the throne. Nobody has ever sat on God's throne accept for Him. Not even Christ gets that throne. Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father. Your hunger should be for your Creator and not the created. To illustrate this, I want to visit a line in the movie. 

Basically, the crux of the movie is that a once strong people have been destroyed and now in order for the country to sustain itself it must offer up the sacrifice of two young 'tributes' as sacrifice for the welfare of the region they are from. The 24 'tributes' (two from each of the twelve districts) fight to the death for the honor of their state. As the movie progresses and we meet two 'tributes' who are also the two co-stars of the film, there is a scene where they are talking about their survival games that will be starting in just a few short days. One of them is struggling with the reason why they have to fight to the finish and says,

“I just keep wishing that I could think of a way that I could show them they don’t own me. If I’m gonna die, I want to still be me.”  

The problem with that thinking is that the best way to show people they don't own you is to be willing to die to yourself and relinquish your rights to live. Even if you have fallen in love with the enemy. As the story builds, we are introduced with a greater lesson that becomes an underlying theme in the movie.

"What happens when I fall in love with the Enemy?"

A pop icon made a song famous about being uncommitted. Her song stated that you are “hot and your cold, your yes and your no, you’re in and you’re out, you’re up and you’re down”. When Katy Perry made that song famous, she was speaking to this thought of being lukewarm and uncommitted. I'm sure those were not her intentions when she authored the song. But, the lyrics could be applied to the American church today.

In the same way, we need a contrast in the church today. A contrast between this world and the kingdom of God. We have played Hunger Games for too long. Much of the struggle of Christianity in America is based in the fact that we are lukewarm and have lost our voice or impact to speak in contrast to the opposing world system we live in. In case you have forgotten, there is a huge chasm between what is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. The kingdom of God is about being last, weak, servant, and turning the cheek. The kingdom of this world is about being first, strong, served, and slapping cheeks.                                                                                                         

Something happened in the 1700’s through the late 1900’s in American life.  We call it The Great Awakenings.  They were marked by several things…deep personal and corporate repentance of sin, a love for truth, the salvation of the lost, a worship revolution, and civil and public reforms.  But, one of the key spiritual marks of this movement was a dependence upon God and a hunger for Christ. There were no spiritual hunger games.

In the first few chapters of Matthew we read about the incredible crowds that followed Christ everywhere He went. We see the same kind of stories recorded in the first 6 chapters of Mark. Jesus taught us to seek first. You might have a different idea of what that means than I do. Here's what I mean. It looks like the following kind of references recorded by both Matthew and Mark. Radical references such as RUNNING, WALKING, BOATING, CLIMBING, SEARCHING, HUNTING, BY LAND, BY SEA, THROUGH THE DESERT, BY ROOFTOP, FROM THE HILLS, IN THE TEMPLE, OR EVEN AT HIS HOME. These people came to Him from everywhere. What are we willing to do to get to Christ?
In America, there is a viral and rapid movement against the Christian faith. Without a sense of urgency, our faith will be undermined. Our hunger and willingness to seek God in the face of pluralism is the only defense against the culture of doubt we live in. In our texts in Matthew 5-7 and Mark 1-6 these people came from everywhere to be with Christ. Insanity. It is a flash mob of historical proportions that brought the Christian faith to the forefront. 

If it was heard that Jesus was in Galillee, everyone went to Galillee. If He were in Jerusalem, everyone went to Jerusalem. Now, I am not saying to pick up and become nomad gypsies. I understand that we are a social media society and that Christ is everywhere. That is not the point. The point is, would you be willing to run to where God is? 

And so, are we completely settled on our mission? Do we understand who the enemy is? Do we hunger for God as we should? Divorce the enemy. Choose One master. No more hunger games.