Jesus Said Disciple Not Diva
I was in a store recently and listened to a middle school girl throw a FIT over some ridiculously priced item she wanted her mom to buy her. Her arguments included: "Because I want it", "Just give it to me", "I deserve it", "Get it for me or I will throw a fit", and my personal favorite, "You never do anything for me". I waited for the mother's wrath to come forth but to my surprise she gives a little laugh and says, "You're such a little diva. Just like your mama." 😮
One type of diva is "a famous female singer". I would love to be that kind of diva!! But the more popular use of the word diva is referring to a self-important person who is temperamental and difficult to please. Not exactly a compliment!
The reality is, we are living in a culture that not only encourages but celebrates being a diva!
"Never settle for anything less than the best!" "Put yourself first!" "Status matters!" "Live the dream!" "Do whatever it takes to get what you want!" "You are a queen!" "Always speak your mind!" "Only be with someone who spoils you!" "Never back down!" "You deserve it all!"
These statements, and others like them, are used constantly under the disguise of "empowering women". Now, I am all for actually empowering women! I firmly believe that women should stand up for what's right, insist on being treated with dignity and respect, and be able to set boundaries that honor our body, time, relationships, etc. I believe we should use our voices to advocate for ourselves and our sisters. I believe women bring a plethora of knowledge and experience to the table in countless settings. I believe that God created man and women as equals and we should be treated as such!
But the statements quoted above, the ones our culture feeds us, actually undermine what real women empowerment looks like and are in complete contradiction to what Christ commands of us. Matthew 28:19-20 says, "Therefore go and make DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Nowhere in the Bible do you read that we should exhibit the characteristics described as a diva. We are called to look like and point to Jesus! But in order to know how to be a disciple, we must know the characteristics of Jesus himself!
A Diva is High-Maintenance - A Disciple is Content
Literally all you need to do is turn on the radio and it's drenched with women singing with pride about being high-maintenance! Or turn on any of those Real Housewives shows....actually don't. It's super painful to watch! Demanding the nicest, most expensive, biggest, and most extravagant of everything is the name of the game. The problem is that their desire is never quenched, the striving is endless, and they become insufferable!
Jesus sends a very different message. As he prepares His disciples to go out and spread the news of His coming, He tells them to bring nothing with them! They are not to worry about extra clothes, shoes, food, protection, NOTHING. Their sole concern should be to point to Jesus and He will provide for their needs. In the same chapter of Luke 9, Jesus says of Himself, "The Son of Man has no place to lay His head". In other words, following Jesus means leaving the concerns of this world behind.
1 Timothy 6:6-9 says this, "Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction."
Contentment is a blessing and is a sign of godliness! Now, I have to confess something. I struggle with contentment. I really do. All I have to do is spend some time on Pinterest and I'm discontent with my house, my clothes, my vacations, and on and on it goes! I have to be intentional not to fill my mind with things that will convince me that what I have isn't enough! The words of 1 Timothy are important!
To clarify, I'm not discouraging self care. I enjoy getting my nails done, my hair cut, and buying a couple new tops. I enjoy a new purse, going out to eat, and going on vacation from time to time. But when doing these things becomes all consuming, I'm moving into an unhealthy state. When I choose luxuries over generosity, or spend money I don't have just because I want to, I'm moving into being high-maintenance.
If you're frequently discontent with life around you and gripe about what you don't have, you look more like a diva than a disciple.
A Diva is Demanding - A Disciple Serves Others
Similar to the middle school girl in the store, my 4-year-old is demanding. He wants what he wants, when he wants it. And if he doesn't get it, he throws a fit. Know any grown ups like that? The "fit" may look like an actual fit but can also look like the silent treatment, withholding things, angry outbursts, insulting others, refusing to participate, and downright pouting until they get their way.
I'm gonna tell you something embarrassing about me. When I set my mind on something I want (either to purchase or have done for me) but Luke isn't on board, I tend to pout. I'm ashamed to admit it! But as I grow in my walk with Christ I'm getting better at spending less time pouting and more time focusing on serving others. It's not always easy. By nature our knee jerk is self-preservation and comfort! But Jesus shows us a different way.
One evening, when Jesus was with His disciples, He did something unthinkable. He washed their feet. In Biblical times, as an act of hospitality, the host would provide water for guests to wash the dust off of their feet or provide a servant to do this lowly task. So this evening, a servant should have washed Jesus' feet! Besides, if anyone can be demanding of others to meet His needs, it's God in the flesh! But instead, Jesus takes the opportunity to teach an important lesson! If The Messiah could wash the feet of His followers, we can certainly do the same!
"For even the Son of Man (Jesus) came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." -Matthew 20:28
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love." -Galations 5:13
If your focus is more on your own demands being met and not about ways you can serve others, you look more like a diva than a disciple.
A Diva is Dramatic - A Disciple strives for Peace
I'm pretty sure I spent the majority of my teenage years arguing with my parents. Ok, that might be an overstatement but it's not too far off. I was more concerned with being right than being in a relationship. Part of that comes from a desire for justice. If I felt wronged (as teens often do), I would fight for what I felt was right. I'm still an activist in many ways. I still seek for God to break my heart for what breaks His and fight on His behalf. But plenty of the drama with my parents and friends was not about justice and was more about me wanting my own way. Growing closer to God means not always having to be right! Not every battle is one that needs to be won...or even started!
As Jesus was approaching death He knew that his dear friend Peter would stab Him in the back (figuratively speaking). He knew that Peter would not even acknowledge they were friends when the pressure was on. Jesus could have easily told him off! "After all I've done for you Peter, and you are gonna treat me like this!?" He could have told all of their friends and asked them to take sides. He could have made a big scene! Instead, he lovingly told Peter what was going to happen and didn't argue with him when Peter refused to believe it would. (You can read about it in Matthew 26.) And after it all went down just as Jesus said, He offered forgiveness and restored their relationship! (John 21)
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." -Romans 12:18
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29
If you like to start drama, keep drama alive, engage in attention seeking behavior, or argue about everything, you look more like a diva than a disciple.
I don't know about you but there are plenty of days I look more like a diva than a disciple. But as I draw closer to my Lord and study His word, I am able to identify when my behavior isn't pointing to Jesus!
Here's the thing...when my time here is done and I meet my Father, I want to hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Because I don't think, "Well done, good and faithful diva" is an option.
I'm just saying...