Never underestimate your ability to take on the values of your culture that are in conflict with God’s.
I sometimes wonder if the church is moving forward or backward? Oh I know that every generation has complained about the secularization of Christianity. I became a Christian in 1973. It took about fortyfive minutes after having prayed to receive Christ I that learned about the liberals (both political and religious) who were leading America towards the judgment of God. But America is still here along with the church.
Vast segments of Christians in the west have become comfortable with things that used to be off-limits. Our opinions about slavery, drinking, smoking, dancing, going to the movies, the role of women in the home and in the church, divorce and remarriage, tattoos, and occasional swearing, (I still don’t get the swearing thing) have changed. Is this progress or regress, evolution or devolution? It’s not always clear to me.
The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote for many things, and the condition of the church is no exception. They say that if you want to boil a frog (which is a dumb way to cook a frog. Everyone knows to use a frying pan.) don’t put it directly into boiling water because it will jump out. Instead, put it in cool water, slowly turn up the heat and eventually the frog will be cooked to death.
I worry sometimes that I’ve been cooked by my culture, and like that frog, I’m completely unaware of it.
I don’t want to underestimate my ability to take on the values of my culture that are in conflict with God’s values. Notice that I said, “that are in conflict with God’s values?”
Our secular, non-Christian culture is not all bad. Mankind has done some amazing things apart from the church and Christianity. There’s a lot of good non-Christians out there shaping our culture in positive ways. But most would agree that with the good has come a fair share of bad. By ‘bad’ I mean values that are in opposition to God’s values. We Christians don’t always agree on what specifically are God’s values. What are clear God-values to some believers are not clear God-values to other believers. However, we all agree that our society embraces things that displease God. And it is these things that I think about and worry about.
Am I being cooked and I don’t know it? Am I progressing or regressing? Am I evolving or devolving? And what about the church?
I bet it’s a mixture. I want to believe it’s more ‘two steps forward, one step back’ than the other way around.
Questions for reflection:
1. How have your beliefs and behavior changed over the years?
2. Are there things you once believed were sin but now don’t?
3. How might one know whether or not their culture has rubbed off on them in a negative way?
(Excerpt from ‘Never Underestimate’ by Dave Jacobs)
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