Christ demands first place. There’s no room on the throne of your heart for two gods.
– Billy Graham
Culture is very interesting. Culture is, in the words of E.B. Tylor, “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”
As Christians, we have to be very cautious about allowing the culture of our society to dictate who we become. The Word of God is our authority in any given situation. It is the supreme law for us, as the Constitution is the supreme law of our land in the United States.
It matters because we have entered into a new dimension in time where the the norms of our society are not parallel with our Christian beliefs. I spent countless hours and weeks lamenting over what our country is becoming. From headlines of bigotry in the presidential race to belittlement of human life (or perhaps just black life) in favor of animals, I have been left scratching my head thinking, what happened to us?
When did we become like this? And the answer struck me clearly…when the Word of God stopped being our authority. We are a society that values freedom, as we should considering one of the reasons we were established was to allow for religious freedom. Pursuit of this freedom, cultivated separation of church and state, and removal of God from so many facets of life from education to politics to, well, culture.
As with most things, we have paid a price for these never ending freedoms. Like, the loss of a binding set of norms and morals to keep us free from lawlessness and terror. (History tells us, laws alone won’t do it when we don’t accept the law as our norm). Now, blacks are free, but apparently people are free to kill unarmed blacks with ‘self-defense’ claims. Now women are equal, but apparently young men are free to rape young women with ‘intoxication’ claims. Now, same sex marriage is legal, but offended zealots can singlehandedly annihilate 50 people with ‘legally’ held weapons of mass destruction.
The United States of America, as we knew it, has become vastly misaligned with our pledge of being a place of liberty and justice for all. So what is a Christian to do when you see your world falling apart before your eyes? Pray and rebuild…starting with your own life.
How can we dictate to others what they should and shouldn’t be doing when our own lives are filled with contradiction to God’s Word? Why should they listen to us, when we don’t practice what we preach? Why should they care what we say, when we don’t speak from a place of love with hope for reconciliation? Why should anything change when we won’t pray until the change happens?
When you are wrong, chances are you want to have a space to make the necessary correction, and you may need some assistance to get it right. But, if everyone is screaming at you and attacking you, who can you turn to for the help and guidance you need to be restored? I challenge you to be in a position that when someone is ready to give their life to Christ, they can turn to you for help. I challenge you to maintain a standard of righteousness that is not fueled by criticism and hate instead of reconciliation and love.
That’s why we must rebuild. Rebuild the personal standards we have for ourselves. I can’t control any of the extremists that have warped viewpoints of our humanity based on any number of defining factors, but I can control me. I can’t control how other people think or act. I am the CEO of me. I can establish rules for myself that shape how I act, what I say, how I treat people, and maybe, just maybe they catch of glimpse of God’s love through me. Just maybe, if enough of us proudly uphold our beliefs the culture can emulate us.
Clearly, conforming to the world is not the answer. The Word of God plainly warns us “be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2) You cant throw in the towel and say, ‘Well, everybody else is doing it’. We must remain steadfast and immovable in what we know to be right, in spite of how many others do wrong. And we must not be afraid, to speak against unrighteousness. We are so careful not to offend anyone else, even though we offend God in so doing. Our lives should proudly display that God’s way is right.
Rebuild my sisters and brothers. Remember, the sacrifice Christ made for us? He stood alone as everyone who cheered for him just a week prior scattered. They couldn’t bare the same ridicule and persecution though they vowed their allegiance just days before. What about you? Are afraid you will lose Facebook friends? Afraid you will lose business? What keeps you bound? Did he not say that those who suffer with Him will also reign with Him?
How many people does it take to change God’s Word? If the whole school creates a new standard, is that enough? If the state enacts a new law contrary to God’s Word, will that do it? What if our entire nation goes completely bonkers and tries to shove a standard down your throats that is completely in contradiction to God’s Word? Does it take 1,000 people, 1 million people, how many people does it take to plunge into sin before you say, ‘Okay, I guess sin is in now?’
I am completely blown away by our willingness to abandon Christ when He needs us the most. I am totally over the blame-game and the finger-pointing. I am not looking to our politicians to do it, they have to worry about the popular vote. I am not even looking to our famous religious leaders to do it, they have their prestige to protect. I am worried about you and me. Can we be the remnant waiting for Christ upon His return that is still standing on His Word, no matter what this world decides to do?
Remember, in the end we do not have to give an account for what he did or what she did, just what we did. Can we rebuild our life…our knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, customs and any other capabilities and habits we have acquired based upon God’s Word? #ijs