One of the more recent game/reality shows that have caught my attention of late is called “Game Show in My Head” hosted by Joe Rogan (of Fear Factor and UFC fame). According to their website, Game Show in My Head is
“a hidden-camera game show in which contestants wear an earpiece as they go about life in the city and are instructed back in the studio by Rogan. If the contestants can perform crazy, outrageous and often embarrassing tasks in public, they can go home with big money. However, if they fail to perform one task, they’ll lose all the money they earned thus far and go home empty handed. It’s all about how far the contestants are willing to go to win GAME SHOW IN MY HEAD.”
There is something very attractive about watching people take unusual risks. In this case, a contestant is implanted among a monotonous society surrounded by people of safe agendas and relatively secluded lives. The challenge carries with it two things: (1) the contestant doing something he or she would not normally do in society, and (2) have someone unknown to the game show actually go along with them, forcing them out of their comfort zone or previously scheduled activities of the day. Consequently, not only is there a risk involved (of how people will respond and making a complete fool of yourself), but there is a need to present authenticity and believability to people who are normally predisposed to being critical, skeptical, and unconcerned about the needs of others. If, in five minutes, the contestant is able to successfully accomplish the mission, he or she will win $5,000.
As I watched this game show, I could not help but feel two things going on inside of me. On a superficial level, I was laughing and looking giddy as these people were doing ridiculous things and getting hilarious responses. But on a deeper level (especially during the commercial breaks), I began to feel a conviction and cutting in my heart of this very matter. It was not that they the contestants were doing this for money or the false stories they were creating in order to dupe people. It was that they were willing to be made a an utter fool by taking great risks in life for a reward that was so fleeting and futile.
I live my life disengaged from the world and safe from a routine-breaking risk. Even now as I write this article, I am sitting next to individuals at Panera Bread who have idols in their hearts and hopes that will disappoint. As a follower of Christ, I should have the gospel in my head. Because of the reality of the resurrection, the joy of knowing Jesus, and the great gain He is to me, there should be no risk that I am willing to take for the sake of making Him known. The fact is that I’m a man-pleaser. I am more concerned about what strangers think of me than what my Savior desires of me, and of that great repentance is required. Paul often spoke of believers as “fools for Christ’s sake” who were “besides themselves,” and treated as “the scum of the earth” while making it “their aim to please Him” in all things. The gospel that was in their head was undeniably and unashamedly lived out in their lives. And I, sadly, have become too comfortable of not feeling uncomfortable.
God has a story of redemption that is being faithfully executed among a people He has implanted in society who do not care about the laughter of the crowd nor are they deterred by the rejection of some. It’s the gutsiness of someone like Paul who was stone and dragged out of the city left for dead only to later rise up and re-enter the very city and face the people who thought they had killed him.
The glory of this game show is the arrival of the contestant to the applause of a studio audience who recognized the “self-sacrifice” they made for the worth of winning $5,000. Evidently, the value of this amount of money was worth the risk, causing them to do things they had never done. The gospel in my head should daily remind me that there is the applause of One whose worth to me should lead to great personal sacrifice. After all, did Jesus not say that anyone who would follow Him must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him? That he who attempts to save his life would lose it, but the one who loses his life for Jesus’ sake will find it?
Jesus is worth it, so much more valuable than $5,000 or $5 billion. The currency which redeemed my soul was not with gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ. God help me to keep the gospel in my head so that I can display the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. In this life, there are no hidden cameras. My heavenly Father sees it all, and in heaven, all the things done in this body will be tested in the fires of judgment. Knowing the fear of the Lord, God help me to persuade others!
Friends and fellow followers of Christ, don’t let the world shame us in this risk-taking business. We who have the guarantee of salvation and the promised inheritance of heaven have nothing to lose here on earth. What those outside of Christ will do for things that will perish and cannot satisfy, we should all the more do for the eternal glory of Christ and the satisfaction of His smile. When the gospel is in our head, His love will be in our hearts, and His Spirit will guide our lives. When the film is being played for eternity, may they find us foolishly faithful in the cause of displaying and demonstrating the infinite treasure we have in Jesus.