Have you ever seen the movie “Pure Country?” I have. Many times. I cannot tell you exactly why, but when I was in college and that movie would come on TV, it would pull me in like a tractor beam on the Death Star.
Because of the shear volume of times I saw that movie over a four year period, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on its content. If you like country music, the soundtrack is unparalleled. From the iconic ballad, “Cross My Heart” to the driving rhythms of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” the music from this movie sells in the heartland. The writing in this movie, though, is pure propoganda. In a not so veiled way, Pure Country star George Strait is taking a metaphorical shot at the rock-styled concerts and pageantry of Garth Brooks circa 1992. The storyline of Pure Country, though fiction, was a sensationalized argument of why George was better than Garth. (I saw both Brooks and Strait in concert during this era and you could not imagine two different shows. For the record, I liked them both.)
What made the movie the punchline of many jokes, however, was not the writing or the singing, it was the acting. As it turns out King George is much better singing as himself than he is acting like a character named “Dusty.” I will never forget George’s incredulous confrontation of the impostor “Buddy Jackson.” His fake anger was more funny than anything else. When a huge gap exists between someone’s performance and how a person would really behave, we call that bad acting.
I was thinking about this today as I prepare for Sunday’s message at Wildwood. This week we will be in week 3 of our series on Romans 12 entitled “Therefore.” So far, we have seen that in light of the mercy of God, we are to lay down our lives before the Savior and have Him transform our minds in His Spirit’s power as He uses us in His Kingdom work. This week, we will be looking at Romans 12:9-13 as we see a bit more what the logical response is to the mercies of our God. As I read Romans 12:9, however, I thought of “Pure Country.”
In Romans 12:9, Paul says, “Let your love not be an act.” Paul knew that it was a temptation for Christians to merely ACT the part of the redeemed without actually living it from the inside out. When believers mouth the words “I love you” like a line from a play, but fail to live that out in demonstrated action, Paul calls them bad actors and challenges them to live out their new identity in Christ.
This Sunday we will look at some of the characteristics of genuine love as we gather for worship in our 9:30 and 10:50 services at Wildwood. See you there!