Posts Tagged ‘conform’

Culture Wars

February 19th, 2018

Cues from a wrong source are misleading.

“You ought to live holy and Godly lives, as you look forward

to the day of God and speed its coming.” 2 Peter 3:12 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Culture Wars.”

There are things about the current, secular culture that disturb me. I am disturbed that we too often take our cues from unworthy and inappropriate sources, with neither discernment nor discrimination. Much of the surrounding culture has a far greater influence on the Church and its people than could ever be justified – whether speaking of morals, materialism, or immodesty as expressed in fashion, media, music, profanity, incivility, or self-centeredness. We seem to take our cues from those wrong sources without discernment that we are doing so. Apparently, we are afraid to look different as we mimic the surrounding styles of how we dress, how we talk, and to a greater degree, how we live.

The Bible provides clarity. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV. When I was a young teen, the Church seemed to take a reactionary stance to the culture that appeared imbalanced and in clear opposition. Conversely today, we are too concerned about fitting in with the culture and too comfortable when we do.

Then, Christians seemed to consciously try to look, act, and talk differently. It might be wiser to just confidently and comfortably choose to be who we are always called to be, “Salt and Light,” in a deteriorating and darkening world. In retrospect, However, I believe my grandparents’ and parents’ generations chose a safer margin for error with less consequences than may result from our indecisive course today.

The Bible’s counsel is wise, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father, but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 NIV. Be advised and wise and live successfully and effectively now and eternally safe forever.

Today, we seem to feel the need to apologize that our standards and expectations are other than the surrounding cultural norms. Because we are unclear about how to be Godly people in an ungodly age, a generation of young “teens and twenties” are confused, and thereby easily succumb to the bombardment of media, movies, music, fashion, and celebrities’ lifestyles to determine how they should dress, talk, think, and live.

The nature of the culture is not what disturbs me most. That is neither surprising nor redeemable except on an individual basis, never collectively. I am concerned about the secular culture’s influence and our naive approach to the lure of their example. Why mimic the opinions and lifestyle of celebrities because they have wealth or fame, lavishly granted from those whom they merely amuse and entertain? Except for few exceptions, they are in graphic contrast and conflict with what the follower of Jesus is meant to be, never examples to be esteemed and followed.

The Apostle Peter asked and answered a reasonable, but probing, question to the young churches and new Christians. “What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” 2 Peter 3:11-12 NIV. You must ask and answer that question for yourself, “What kind of person ought I to be?” Life is best lived with a singular focus. As a follower of Jesus, I would suggest Paul’s words to you, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, Who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV.

Choose carefully the people you admire and emulate, or you will find yourself in a gradual decline and indiscernible process of becoming like them. There is a clear and right choice to make. “Christ, is your example. Follow in His steps: He never sinned, never told a lie, never answered back when insulted; when He suffered He did not threaten to get even; He left his case in the hands of God Who always judges fairly.” 1 Peter 2:21-24 TLB. Yours and my goal should be to allow the Word of God and invite the Holy Spirit to make us a little more like Jesus every day.

Today, I pray for you to be a Godly example of a chaste and consecrated life of faith.

Christian Communications 2018

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Thoughts and Destinations

April 9th, 2014

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 NKJV.

Thoughts without discipline and direction produce regrets unforeseen.

My thoughts and comments today are about “thoughts and destinations.”

Your mind is a powerful force. Thoughts are the origin of attitudes, desires, beliefs, and behavior. The noblest acts of self-sacrifice, as well as self-centeredness, begin and mature in the mind. The mind is fertile ground for whatever is sown there. “For as [a man] thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7 NASV. Years earlier, I read a simple but powerful statement, “Sow a thought, and reap an action. Sow an action, and reap a habit. Sow a habit, and reap a destiny.” Never start a journey in your thoughts that you don’t want to reach as your destination. Decisions and direction result from your deliberations.

Great achievements begin with a simple, compelling idea, just as unthinkable behavior can begin with unguarded thoughts. God’s indictment of Noah’s generation was severe but accurate, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great . . and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually . . but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Read Genesis 6:5-8 NKJV. “Every intent of [their] thoughts . . was only evil continually.” Wicked men allowed God nothing He could redeem. Bad behavior and evil lives had its origin in their evil thoughts. Thoughts without discipline and direction produce regrets unforeseen. Noah was different and He found grace. Read Isaiah 55:7-9 NIV.

But there is reason for encouragement. The Bible offers an effective solution, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus . . He humbled Himself and became obedient . .” Read Philippians 2:2-11 NKJV. You will not achieve the mind of Christ by your best efforts. However, you can receive the mind of Christ by your sincere welcome. For this reason, Paul assured your victory, “[You] have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV.

In the Philippians verses, I see these spiritual elements of the mind of Christ you are to replicate: Godly submission, absolute selflessness, humble service, and willing sacrifice, from which come the promise of God’s recognition and reward. From Jesus, you can learn the joy of yielding your rights and embracing responsibilities. You have the Godly potential to become all that you were created to be. The process is not passive; it’s proactive. Read Colossians 3:1-3 NIV/Galatians 5:19-25 NLT.

The mind is not self-governing; your thought life must be righteously managed. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV. Recognize, then cast down and capture every thought process that misdirects you spiritually – such as self-pity, remorse, anger, unforgiveness, disobedience, or such like. Read Romans 8:5-6 NIV.

Here is God’s answer; it’s simple and effective but not easy. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV. See Ephesians 4:23-24 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is for an uncluttered mind and thoughts obedient to Christ.

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