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Is it wrong to want to be famous?

Have you ever imagined yourself standing on a huge stage before a cheering audience? Or maybe as a YouTube celebrity with merch and fans and a gold YouTube Play Button award on your wall? Is it wrong to want to be famous? What does the Bible say about fame? What about all those Christian celebrities with their huge platforms? Is their fame biblical?

God's Glory vs. Personal Fame

It’s easy to look at our culture today and want to be famous. Our favorite celebrities seem to have everything they could ever want—big houses, expensive cars, designer clothes, the latest tech, and millions of dedicated admirers. We may find ourselves jealous and wondering if we could ever live a life of fame rather than a seemingly mundane one.

For the Christian, a desire for fame may feel justified when we convince ourselves that what we really want is to bring glory to God. “If I was famous, think about how many people I could reach for Jesus!” Such an attitude must be examined closely, because we can be really good at lying to ourselves when selfish desires are strong.

Where is our motivation for fame truly coming from? Do we want to be famous in order to bring glory to God or bring glory to ourselves? Is it God's name and values we want to put on the stage or our own name and face? The Bible gives us a great standard to weigh our motives against: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Jesus Rejected His Call to Fame

Jesus had a perfect opportunity to claim fame and spread His teaching to an even wider audience while on the earth. In John 6, we discover Jesus doing tons of miracles, including healing the sick and feeing 5,000 people from a boy's meager lunch. The Bible tells us that Jesus could see the people were getting riled up. They loved Him, revered Him, and wanted to make Him their king—by force if necessary! They were ready to place Jesus on a pedestal and become His adoring fans, but what did Jesus do? He left! *gasp!* And He went off to be alone on a mountainside (John 6:15). See, Jesus wasn't looking for fame, fortune, and earthly power.

Maybe if Jesus had accepted the kingship He was being offered, then more people would have heard His message, bringing even more glory to the Father. From our fallen, earthly perspective, this reasoning makes total sense, right? But Jesus knew automatic, man-given power was not His Father’s plan.

Jesus came to earth to do the Father’s will: to die for our sins and give eternal life to those who believed in Him (John 3:16; John 4:34; Luke 22:42) and this meant NOT accepting the offer of fame. Jesus plainly said, "I am not seeking glory for myself" (John 8:50). Instead, His goal was to bring glory to the Father (John 8:29). If Jesus sought glory for God over His own, we also should do the same.

What about those famous Christian celebrities?

Famous Christians often appear to be making a bigger impact for Christ than a typical person could, don't they? With their enormous social media platforms and gazillions of fans...are they more effective than a "normal" Christian who serves backstage at their little church's food bank? Or is celebrity status inherently sinful?

Once again, we must examine the motives. If a famous Christian speaker, pastor, or singer has pure motivations in what they do and their true desire is to bring glory to God, then no. But if, deep down, what they're really after is fortune and glory for themselves and they're masquerading as Christ followers for profit, then yes, that is sin.

Proverbs 16:2 tells us, “All a person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” God knows a person's true motives no matter how much they lie to themselves.

How can God use an "ordinary" person for His glory?

Sure, there are people glorify God by using their celebrity platforms, but there are many more who glorify God in their "normal" lives. Neither way is better than the other because God sees any effort with godly motivation as imperative and important (Matthew 25:14-30). God has plans for some Christians to serve Him in ways that will be widely known, and He has plans for some Christians to serve Him ways that may never be widely recognized.

God can use the most "ordinary" life to bring Him glory (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). Think about Joseph of the Bible: youngest son, voted most-likely to remain a shepherd forever—a "dreamer" whose brothers sold him into slavery but only after trying to kill him (Genesis 37:18-36). Yet God chose Joseph to do great things (1 Samuel 16:7-13).

God chooses normal, broken people like you and me to accomplish His will. With God, we can complete eternal work that goes beyond this world—not for our glory but for His (1 Corinthians 1:29).

Is it sinful to want to be famous?

No, it's not sinful to want to be famous. But do check your motivations before you dwell too long on those fantasies. If your true desire is to bring glory to yourself rather than God, then that is sinful. Is it the millions of TikTok followers you want? Is it wealth and possessions? Is it the unbridled adoration of fans you want? Friends, this cannot be.

Honestly, it's hard to imagine wanting fame and celebrity apart from the destructive noose of selfishness (1 Timothy 6:9). As Christians, our lives are meant to glorify God and to bring His Name praise—not our own. God’s divine ways are not like our human ways; His thoughts are perfect, but our thoughts are hit-and-miss (Isaiah 55:8-9). God truly knows the best path for our lives, and we can trust Him with our future (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Famous in God's Time

The Bible tells us that God will exalt us in due time if we are humble (1 Peter 5:6). If becoming famous is God’s plan for you, then it will happen. But a life of celebrity comes with many struggles and difficulties for a Christian. Many celebrities report that being famous isn't at all what it seems. Increased temptations, strained relationships, compromised values—all of these make life very challenging for a Christ follower.

Unlike being famous for a short time in our lives, following God has lasting impact and eternal value (Ephesians 6:8). Regardless of our celebrity status (or lack thereof), we can choose to serve God and bring Him glory. God has equipped each of us with unique skills and abilities to serve Him (1 Corinthians 12:5-6). May we always choose to glorify God in all we do and not ourselves.

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TL;DR

We've probably all had a thought about celebrity and fame at some point. But when Jesus was about to be handed kingship and all that entails, He declined the invitation. Jesus didn't seek His own glory, but glory for the Father (John 8:50). Having selfish motives for being famous is wrong. Christians cannot take the mentality of exalting themselves to the world. A pure motivation for celebrity would be a true desire to reach the world for Jesus' sake. But let's be honest, that's tough to achieve while wrapped in personal fame. Regardless of celebrity status (or lack thereof), God will honor any service to Him that brings Him glory. God has equipped each of us with unique skills and abilities to serve Him (1 Corinthians 12:5-6). May we always choose to glorify God in all we do and not ourselves.

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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