Just reading that name probably summoned an influx of images to mind that I will refrain from describing.
Like most of America, I always loved to watch Hannah Montana with my daughters when they were younger. Miley was such a sweet, wholesome role model for young girls, with a great sense of humor and a knack for making people laugh. I know she was just playing a role, but even in the media and what we saw of her real self, her heart seemed to be in the right place. Yet now, I’m not so sure.
Last week on Twitter I came across an article someone had written about Miley Cyrus which led me to visit her Twitter page for the first time out of curiosity. Miley had posted a few comments recently, some laced with unlady like words and some including a few photos. Photos that were blocked by my computer due to being rated as inappropriate.
Just as I was about to leave her page, I noticed something Miley had retweeted. It was a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt which read “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” It seemed that Miley interpreted this quote to mean that our actions and behaviors, no matter how crude or wrong they may be, are justified as long as we feel they are right in our hearts.
This got me to thinking. Can we trust our hearts to guide us, when our hearts aren’t in the right place? When our hearts are being help captive by greed, pride, popularity, money, lust, drugs or alcohol? When our hearts are broken over private circumstances in our lives? When our hearts are poisoned by images or practices of porn and immodesty? When our hearts are in a place of desiring all the things that the world offers, and none of the things that really matter?
Can we trust our hearts to lead us when our hearts are far from God? The honest and only answer – is NO.
Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Apart from God, our heart’s are sick, and sick hearts cannot make good choices.
Although this quote was noble advice, we can’t always count on it to be true. When our hearts are not with God, they are being guided by forces other than God. Forces that can’t be trusted.
Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, did an interview back in 2009 on beliefnet.com, a Christian website, and shared how faith was an important part of his life. His grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher and his dad was in a gospel quartet. Billy Ray said he was basically born into the church and thankful for that, and that his daughter shared his faith.
When asked if it was hard for he and Miley to stick to their beliefs in Hollywood, Billy Ray replied “No doubt it’s harder here. In Franklin, Tennessee where we’re from, there’s a lot of faith around, a lot of light. A lot of people have read the Bible. [Faith is] part of your life, part of the community. And you know what? [With] all due respect, in this world, it’s just hard to find a lot of light here in Hollywood.”
He went to say, “Even with that show (Doc), the harder we worked to represent the light and be positive, the more the forces of evil and darkness would come in to try to put out that light. So you can imagine being Miley right now, let alone me, you just gotta know that what the dark side wouldn’t give to put out that light and that positive hope and love and bring down anyone.”
“Can you imagine how much joy it would bring to the devil to see Miley just do something really stupid and all these kids around the world that she’s represented such a positive force to just taint it with something stupid and ruin it? There’s a lot of forces that would like to see that happen.”
Unfortunately, now they have. Billy Ray is talking here about spiritual warfare, and in recent years, Miley (like all of us) has been under attack. The target of dark forces who want her to be a bad example, who want her life to stay messed up (her words) and who want her to continue to be an interesting celebrity, not an inspirational one. Forces that want to put out her light once and for all.
Based on Billy Ray’s own words which seem to now be a prediction of things to come, it appears that the temptations of our culture and the greed for money and fame have slowly led Miley out of God’s light and into the dark shadows of where her faith used to be. Although God knows her heart, her choices serve as evidence that her heart may not be in the right place. She has strayed from the young girl who once thanked Jesus publicly for her awards and opportunities, to a young woman who has gradually surrendered to the toxic addiction of money and fame.
But despite all the swirling and harsh criticism, God is not judging her, just waiting for her return. He still loves Miley and has great plans for her life, just as He does for each of us. God alone has given her an amazing platform which could be used for great things, including sharing the gospel with millions of people. My prayer is that one day she will look up to a permanently sovereign God for purpose and fulfillment, instead of looking around to temporary fans and celebrity status which are as fleeting as the wind.
I so admired Billy Ray’s statement in this beliefnet article where he said “…and I still pray the same prayer…that God will give us the wisdom and the vision and the ability to see the things we’re supposed to see, to do the things we’re supposed to do, to sing the songs we’re supposed to sing, to be the people we’re supposed to be.” We are all called to pray for our children like this. However recently, with regards to his daughter’s shocking VMA performance, he stated that he would have done the same thing if he had been her.
As a mom, with a daughter about the same age as Miley, I admire Billy Ray for publicly stating his unconditional love and support for his child. But as a Christian, I can’t help but wish he would help nudge his daughter towards God, instead of condoning and promoting behavior that is against everything his own faith is grounded on. I can’t help but wish he would profess that although he loves his daughter dearly, he would be going against his beliefs to support her choices and actions.
But despite that, I still admire Billy Ray for his faith and his willingness to stand up for Jesus. In fact, just this weekend, when asked on Twitter if he believed in Jesus, he tweeted Billy Ray Cyrus @billyraycyrus “Yes I believe in Jesus. I believe He is the son of God and he lived and died for us.” Amen! You can bet your bottom dollar that Jesus was glorified! Billy Ray Cyrus has 1,543,395 followers - all of whom just heard about the saving grace of Jesus upon reading his one little tweet.
But what would send an even stronger message for Christ is if Miley herself would take some steps towards the Light and publicly profess her faith. If she would humbly admit that maybe her choices have not been the best lately, but that her heart has been convicted by God and is now telling her to change. Or maybe that she has just been distracted with problems, and that fame and fortune temporarily caused her to get off track. All that would be understandable, it happens to the best of us. Nobody is immune to the forces of darkness. But when people see God’s light shining in a life transformed and changed as a result of His grace, lives are changed forever.
What a powerful mouthpiece for Jesus Miley could be if she chose to humbly admit that she made some mistakes, but has decided to turn from all that and be who God called her to be, not who the world tries to convince her she should be. She could still be rich and famous, but her riches would go far deeper than her bank account.
Lastly, in the article mentioned above, Billy Ray stated this, “That’s why she was named Destiny Hope before she was born. Because I was positive that there was a voice telling me that it was her destiny to bring hope to the world.”
And she still can, if she chooses to let her past mistakes become her platform for purpose for Jesus. She can bring hope, or she can bring darkness. She can show the world what true redemption and change really is, or she can continue to walk farther from God.
Those are choices we all have to make, whether we are regular working class people, or celebrities at the top of our game. We were all created with a desire for God’s love and a longing for divine purpose that really means something, but we’ll never discover that until our hearts are right with Him.
Today, I want to invite you to join me in praying for Miley. She is one of God’s beloved royal daughters, and she needs our prayers.
Prayers for God to reach her heart in an amazing way and change her life. For Him to open her eyes to see how she could use her celebrity status to impact hearts all over the world for Jesus, rather than leading them astray. Prayers for her to remember how it felt to be a positive, dearly loved role model by women of all ages, and not just the latest negative media gossip. Prayers for her father to help her grow spiritually and to have the strength and courage to stand up for what’s right. Prayers for God to give her wisdom, vision and ability to see and do what God wants her to see and do, and be the person she was put on this earth to be.
Let’s pray that God will bring her heart back to Him, so that she will stop relying on her own heart for guidance, and begin relying on His.
Mrs. Roosevelt was right about one thing – we will always be criticized for something. But being criticized for our faith is a whole lot better than the alternative.
Will you leave a prayer for her Miley? Let’s storm the gates of heaven on her behalf. God thinks she is worth it. I do too.
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