Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2
We all have a bias. We all have a bandwagon or two, or three. Our bias determines the bandwagon that sweeps us away or we wave down and jump on. Bandwagons are not necessarily bad things, but they can become a problem.
- When You Do Not Acknowledge Your Bandwagon
A bandwagon tends to be something fleeting, reactionary and often stirred up by others with a vested interest. The bandwagon could be positive and profitable. When there is a natural disaster it could be argued the outpouring of charitable giving is a bandwagon. Suddenly, millions of people may give and support a cause in a place they may never have heard of before and may never think of again.
It can also be damaging. In 2 Kings 15 Absalom seems to have started a bandwagon of discontent against his father, King David. As he speaks to various people and groups they readily jump on board. This happens in churches also. One person starts a bandwagon of discontent and very soon many jump on board and very quickly the church is in disarray.
Whether it is national or congregational, quite often the passengers do not realise they are on a bandwagon of someone else’s agenda.
By all means have a bandwagon, but acknowledge your chosen mode of transportation
- When You Do Not Guard What Influences Your Bias
Many people like to believe they are neutral, they think their thinking is uninfluenced and pure from outside sources. However, I think an unbiased opinion is impossible. Advertising, social media, entertainment, education, family, social circles, wealth, experiences and much more all steer our thinking. When we do not acknowledge our bias and subsequent bandwagon then it means we are not carefully studying our influences.
I have often heard it said that you can tell who trained a young preacher simply by the style of his preaching. I think you can also tell which news network or talk show a person uses by their beliefs and behaviours.
We cannot avoid the influence of everything and everyone around us, but, as believers, the greatest influence ought to be the Word of God and the work of God’s Spirit in us. Very often He will be at odds with the other influences around us.
Most people aiming to lose weight carefully observe their calorific intake. When you do not watch what you consume then it is easy to consume too much. If we do not carefully monitor our influences then we can easily be led astray.
- When You Only Have One Bandwagon
Some people do not like the word “balance”, but we all balance influences, actions and beliefs. We cannot ignore the influence of past hurts, but we balance their effect upon us by Biblical principles, present circumstances and future goals.
When we only have one bandwagon we are out of balance. The Christian must know the whole of the Word of God and not promote one doctrine above another. Some focus on creation or eschatology to the neglect of other parts of God’s Word. Sometimes, it is because they have become caught up on the latest bandwagon.
In some senses, we need to hop on a different bandwagon from time to time. We must be aware of the present battles and needs and, if necessary, move on to a new bandwagon.
Is the battle hottest on the front line of creation? Then hop on and join the fray! Has the frontline moved to the doctrine of Christ? Then keep an eye on the existing battle, but head over to where the ranks are thinnest.
- When Your Bandwagon Turns Into a Chariot
One of the frequent dangers I see of “bandwagoning” is when the bandwagon is converted, A-Team style, into a chariot. It becomes a weapon and its passengers are fighting other bandwagons/chariots.
I do not mean here the battle for truth, a battle fought with honour, integrity and the love of Christ flowing through us. Instead, it is a battle of name-calling, criticism, straw men and abuse. The opponents are not respected even though they hold a different belief, but they are ridiculed, demeaned and isolated. The warrior, with pride coursing through his veins and blinding his reasoning, charges forward on his bandwagon chariot.
When Paul met with opponents in the book of Acts it describes him talking with them, discussing, reasoning from the Scriptures and always pointing to Christ. His ambition is not simply to win an argument, but rather to win a soul.
We should be especially cautious about any bandwagon that is pulled by the forces of fear, discontent, selfishness or anger.
- When Your Bandwagon Goes Away from Christ
If we do not know we are on a bandwagon, if we are not evaluating our influences, if we have become single-minded to the point of disregarding whole portions of Scripture, if we are hurting others and the cause of Christ, then more than likely our bandwagon is drawing us and others away from Christ.
Where is your bandwagon going?
Who is on the bandwagon with you?
Who is the band leader?
Are you hurting or helping?
Are you guided by fear, anger, hate and self-preservation or holiness, love, grace and compassion?
Do you think God needs your bandwagon or do you accept that your bandwagon needs God?
By all means have a bandwagon, but make sure you know where it is going.
Consider carefully the Scripture mentioned at the beginning. The believer who is looking unto Jesus, with His mind on the faith once delivered to the saints, will be protected from the dangers mentioned above.